Long-range interactions at the HO promoter.
McBride HJ., Brazas RM., Yu Y., Nasmyth K., Stillman DJ.
The SWI5 gene encodes a zinc finger DNA-binding protein required for the transcriptional activation of the yeast HO gene. There are two Swi5p binding sites in the HO promoter, site A at -1800 and site B at -1300. Swi5p binding at site B has been investigated in some detail, and we have shown that Swi5p binds site B in a mutually cooperative fashion with Pho2p, a homeodomain protein. In this report, we demonstrate that Swi5p and Pho2p bind cooperatively to both sites A and B but that there are differences in binding to these two promoter sites. It has been shown previously that point mutations in either Swi5p binding site only modestly reduce HO expression in a PHO2 strain. We show that these mutant promoters are completely inactive in a pho2 mutant. We have created stronger point mutations at the two Swi5p binding sites within the HO promoter, and we show that the two binding sites, separated by 500 bp, are both absolutely required for HO expression, independent of PHO2. These results create an apparent dilemma, as the strong mutations at the Swi5p binding sites show that both binding sites are required for HO expression, but the earlier binding site mutations allow Swi5p to activate HO, but only in the presence of Pho2p. To explain these results, a model is proposed in which physical interaction between Swi5p proteins bound to these two sites separated by 500 bp is required for activation of the HO promoter. Experimental evidence is presented that supports the model. In addition, through deletion analysis we have identified a region near the amino terminus of Swi5p that is required for PHO2-independent activation of HO, suggesting that this region mediates the long-range interactions between Swi5p molecules bound at the distant sites.