Phenotypic switching in Candida albicans is controlled by a SIR2 gene.
We report the cloning of a gene from the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans with sequence and functional similarity to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae SIR2 gene. Deletion of the gene in C. albicans produces a dramatic phenotype: variant colony morphologies arise at frequencies as high as 1 in 10. The morphologies resemble those described previously as part of a phenotypic switching system proposed to contribute to pathogenesis. Deletion of SIR2 also produces a high frequency of karyotypic changes. These and other results are consistent with a model whereby Sir2 controls phenotypic switching and chromosome stability in C.albicans by organizing chromatin structure. (+info)
MEC1-dependent redistribution of the Sir3 silencing protein from telomeres to DNA double-strand breaks.
The yeast Sir2/3/4p complex is found in abundance at telomeres, where it participates in the formation of silent heterochromatin and telomere maintenance. Here, we show that Sir3p is released from telomeres in response to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), binds to DSBs, and mediates their repair, independent of cell mating type. Sir3p relocalization is S phase specific and, importantly, requires the DNA damage checkpoint genes MEC1 and RAD9. MEC1 is a homolog of ATM, mutations in which cause ataxia telangiectasia (A-T), a disease characterized by various neurologic and immunologic abnormalities, a predisposition for cancer, and a cellular defect in repair of DSBs. This novel mode by which preformed DNA repair machinery is mobilized by DNA damage sensors may have implications for human diseases resulting from defective DSB repair. (+info)
The conserved core of a human SIR2 homologue functions in yeast silencing.
Silencing is a universal form of transcriptional regulation in which regions of the genome are reversibly inactivated by changes in chromatin structure. Sir2 (Silent Information Regulator) protein is unique among the silencing factors in Saccharomyces cerevisiae because it silences the rDNA as well as the silent mating-type loci and telomeres. Discovery of a gene family of Homologues of Sir Two (HSTs) in organisms from bacteria to humans suggests that SIR2's silencing mechanism might be conserved. The Sir2 and Hst proteins share a core domain, which includes two diagnostic sequence motifs of unknown function as well as four cysteines of a putative zinc finger. We demonstrate by mutational analyses that the conserved core and each of its motifs are essential for Sir2p silencing. Chimeras between Sir2p and a human Sir2 homologue (hSir2Ap) indicate that this human protein's core can substitute for that of Sir2p, implicating the core as a silencing domain. Immunofluorescence studies reveal partially disrupted localization, accounting for the yeast-human chimeras' ability to function at only a subset of Sir2p's target loci. Together, these results support a model for the involvement of distinct Sir2p-containing complexes in HM/telomeric and rDNA silencing and that HST family members, including the widely expressed hSir2A, may perform evolutionarily conserved functions. (+info)
An enzymatic activity in the yeast Sir2 protein that is essential for gene silencing.
Despite its conservation in organisms from bacteria to human and its general requirement for transcriptional silencing in yeast, the function of the Sir2 protein is unknown. Here we show that Sir2 can transfer labeled phosphate from nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide to itself and histones in vitro. A modified form of Sir2, which results from its automodification activity, is specifically recognized by anti-mono-ADP-ribose antibodies, suggesting that Sir2 is an ADP-ribosyltransferase. Mutation of a phylogenetically invariant histidine residue in Sir2 abolishes both its enzymatic activity in vitro and its silencing functions in vivo. However, the mutant protein is associated with chromatin and other silencing factors in a manner similar to wild-type Sir2. These findings suggest that Sir2 contains an ADP-ribosyltransferase activity that is essential for its silencing function. (+info)
A phylogenetically conserved NAD+-dependent protein deacetylase activity in the Sir2 protein family.
The yeast Sir2 protein, required for transcriptional silencing, has an NAD(+)-dependent histone deacetylase (HDA) activity. Yeast extracts contain a NAD(+)-dependent HDA activity that is eliminated in a yeast strain from which SIR2 and its four homologs have been deleted. This HDA activity is also displayed by purified yeast Sir2p and homologous Archaeal, eubacterial, and human proteins, and depends completely on NAD(+) in all species tested. The yeast NPT1 gene, encoding an important NAD(+) synthesis enzyme, is required for rDNA and telomeric silencing and contributes to silencing of the HM loci. Null mutants in this gene have significantly reduced intracellular NAD(+) concentrations and have phenotypes similar to sir2 null mutants. Surprisingly, yeast from which all five SIR2 homologs have been deleted have relatively normal bulk histone acetylation levels. The evolutionary conservation of this regulated activity suggests that the Sir2 protein family represents a set of effector proteins in an evolutionarily conserved signal transduction pathway that monitors cellular energy and redox states. (+info)
SIR functions are required for the toleration of an unrepaired double-strand break in a dispensable yeast chromosome.
Unrepaired DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) typically result in G(2) arrest. Cell cycle progression can resume following repair of the DSBs or through adaptation to the checkpoint, even if the damage remains unrepaired. We developed a screen for factors in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae that affect checkpoint control and/or viability in response to a single, unrepairable DSB that is induced by HO endonuclease in a dispensable yeast artificial chromosome containing human DNA. SIR2, -3, or -4 mutants exhibit a prolonged, RAD9-dependent G(2) arrest in response to the unrepairable DSB followed by a slow adaptation to the persistent break, leading to division and rearrest in the next G(2). There are a small number of additional cycles before permanent arrest as microcolonies. Thus, SIR genes, which repress silent mating type gene expression, are required for the adaptation and the prevention of indirect lethality resulting from an unrepairable DSB in nonessential DNA. Rapid adaptation to the G(2) checkpoint and high viability were restored in sir(-) strains containing additional deletions of the silent mating type loci HML and HMR, suggesting that genes under mating type control can reduce the toleration of a single DSB. However, coexpression of MATa1 and MATalpha2 in Sir(+) haploid cells did not lead to lethality from the HO-induced DSB, suggesting that toleration of an unrepaired DSB requires more than one Sir(+) function. (+info)
Identification of a class of small molecule inhibitors of the sirtuin family of NAD-dependent deacetylases by phenotypic screening.
The yeast transcriptional repressor Sir2p silences gene expression from the telomeric, rDNA, and silent mating-type loci and may play a role in higher order processes such as aging. Sir2p is the founding member of a large family of NAD-dependent deacetylase enzymes, named the sirtuins. These proteins are conserved from prokaryotes to eukaryotes, but most remain uncharacterized, including all seven human sirtuins. A reverse chemical genetic approach would be useful in identifying the biological function of sirtuins in a wide variety of experimental systems, but no cell-permeable small molecule inhibitors of sirtuins have been reported previously. Herein we describe a high throughput, phenotypic screen in cells that led to the discovery of a class of sirtuin inhibitors. All three compounds inhibited yeast Sir2p transcriptional silencing activity in vivo, and yeast Sir2p and human SIRT2 deacetylase activity in vitro. Such specific results demonstrate the utility and robustness of this screening methodology. Structure-activity relationship analysis of the compounds identified a key hydroxy-napthaldehyde moiety that is necessary and sufficient for inhibitory activity. Preliminary studies using one of these compounds suggest that inhibition of sirtuins interferes with body axis formation in Arabidopsis. (+info)
Dicentric chromosome stretching during anaphase reveals roles of Sir2/Ku in chromatin compaction in budding yeast.
We have used mitotic spindle forces to examine the role of Sir2 and Ku in chromatin compaction. Escherichia coli lac operator DNA was placed between two centromeres on a conditional dicentric chromosome in budding yeast cells and made visible by expression of a lac repressor-green fluorescent fusion protein. Centromeres on the same chromatid of a dicentric chromosome attach to opposite poles approximately 50% of the time, resulting in chromosome bridges during anaphase. In cells deleted for yKU70, yKU80, or SIR2, a 10-kb region of the dicentric chromosome stretched along the spindle axis to a length of 6 microm during anaphase. On spindle disassembly, stretched chromatin recoiled to the bud neck and was partitioned to mother and daughter cells after cytokinesis and cell separation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that Sir2 localizes to the lacO region in response to activation of the dicentric chromosome. These findings indicate that Ku and Sir proteins are required for proper chromatin compaction within regions of a chromosome experiencing tension or DNA damage. The association of Sir2 with the affected region suggests a direct role in this process, which may include the formation of heterochromatic DNA. (+info)