Molecular genetic analysis of the yeast repressor Rfx1/Crt1 reveals a novel two-step regulatory mechanism

Zhengjian Zhang, Joseph C. Reese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the repressor Crt1 and the global corepressor Ssn6-Tup1 repress the DNA damage-inducible ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) genes. Initiation of DNA damage signals causes the release of Crt1 and Ssn6-Tup1 from the promoter, coactivator recruitment, and derepression of transcription, indicating that Crt1 plays a crucial role in the switch between gene repression and activation. Here we have mapped the functional domains of Crt1 and identified two independent repression domains and a region required for gene activation. The N terminus of Crt1 is the major repression domain, it directly binds to the Ssn6-Tup1 complex, and its repression activities are dependent upon Ssn6-Tup1 and histone deacetylases (HDACs). In addition, we identified a C-terminal repression domain, which is independent of Ssn6-Tup1 and HDACs and functions at native genes in vivo. Furthermore, we show that TFIID and SWI/SNF bind to a region within the N terminus of Crt1, overlapping with but distinct from the Ssn6-Tup1 binding and repression domain, suggesting that Crt1 may have activator functions. Crt1 mutants were constructed to dissect its activator and repressor functions. All of the mutants were competent for repression of the DNA damage-inducible genes, but a majority were "derepression-defective" mutants. Further characterization of these mutants indicated that they are capable of receiving DNA damage signals and releasing the Ssn6-Tup1 complex from the promoter but are selectively impaired for TFIID and SWI/SNF recruitment. These results imply a two-step activation model of the DNA damage-inducible genes and that Crt1 functions as a signal-dependent dual-transcription activator and repressor that acts in a transient manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7399-7411
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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