Characterization of a transcription factor involved in mother cell specific transcription of the yeast HO gene.
Stillman DJ., Bankier AT., Seddon A., Groenhout EG., Nasmyth KA.
The yeast HO gene, which encodes an endonuclease involved in initiating mating type interconversion, is expressed in mother cells but not in daughters. It has been demonstrated that the SWI5 gene, which is an activator of HO expression, plays a critical role in this differential mother/daughter expression of HO. In this paper we describe the cloning and sequencing of the SWI5 gene. The predicted amino acid sequence derived from the cloned SWI5 gene shows homology with the repeated DNA-binding domains ('zinc fingers') of Xenopus transcription factor TFIIIA. A region of the HO promoter involved in the SWI5-dependent transcriptional activation of HO was identified by deletion analysis of the HO promoter in the chromosome, and by testing the ability of HO DNA fragments to activate transcription in the context of a heterologous promoter. The SWI5 gene product was overproduced in yeast from the GAL1-10 promoter, since the SWI5 protein is made at very low levels in wild-type strains, and protein extracts were used to demonstrate that the SWI5 protein binds in vitro to a segment of the HO promoter required for transcriptional activation in vivo.