Chromatin Dynamics in the Fission Yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: In the eukaryotic cell nucleus, spatial organization and dynamics of the genome is important in the regulation of gene expression. This thesis describes the use of the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, to study chromatin regulation and dynamics.We used nitrogen starvation to induce transcription of genes in fission yeast cells. In induced genes, nucleosomes get evicted in both the promoter and in the open reading frame (ORF). In the genes with the highest expression more nucleosomes get evicted from the ORF than from the promoter. This indicates that large rearrangements of the chromatin are occurring during a drastic gene induction.Many of the genes that become expressed early after nitrogen starvation are located together in clusters. In a cell where nitrogen is present in the surrounding media the gene clusters locate close to the nuclear periphery. When the nitrogen source is removed from the media, the clusters move to a more internal position. Thus rearrangement of chromatin due to gene induction, described in the first study, is accompanied by subnuclear changes of localization.Another type of regulation is the silencing of genes. We have studied a factor necessary for correct repression of genes located in silent chromatin, in S. pombe. The protein, Clr2, is part of the SHREC complex containing a remodeler (Mit1) and a histone deacetylase (Clr3). By bioinformatic analysis of Clr2 and newly sequenced fungi genomes, three motifs were identified. To gather more information about important parts of the Clr2 protein, deletions were made. When removing from about 20 to 100 amino acids in the middle of the protein, silencing of a reporter gene inserted at the mating-type region, inner repeats of centromere 1 and at the central core of centromere 2, failed. This indicates that Clr2 has an important role in establishing silent chromatin.

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