Anatomy of a transcription factor important for the start of the cell cycle in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Primig M., Sockanathan S., Auer H., Nasmyth K.
Entry of yeast cells into the mitotic cell cycle (Start) involves a form of the CDC28 kinase that associates with G1-specific cyclins encoded by CLN1 and CLN2 (ref. 1). The onset of Start may be triggered by the activation of CLN1 and CLN2 transcription in late G1 (ref. 2). SWI4 and SWI6 are components of a factor (SBF) that binds the CACGAAAA (SCB) promoter elements responsible for activation in late G1 of the HO endonuclease, CLN1 and CLN2 genes. A related factor (MBF) containing SWI6 and a 120K protein binds to the ACGCGTNA (MCB) promoter elements responsible for late G1-specific transcription of DNA replication genes. Nothing is known about how these heteromeric proteins bind DNA. We show here that SWI4 contains a novel DNA-binding domain at its N terminus that alone binds specifically to SCBs and a C-terminal domain that binds to SWI6. SWI4's DNA-binding domain is similar to an N-terminal domain of the cdc10 protein that is a component of an MBF-like factor from Schizosaccharomyces pombe and is required for Start. An involvement of this kind of DNA-binding domain in transcriptional controls at Start may therefore be a conserved feature of eukaryotic cells.