Meiotic development (sporulation) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is characterized by an ordered pattern of gene expression, with sporulation- specific genes classified as early, middle, mid-late, or late depending on when they are expressed. SMK1 encodes a mitogen-activated protein kinase required for spore morphogenesis that is expressed as a middle sporulation- specific gene. Here, we identify the cis-acting DNA elements that regulate SMK1 transcription and characterize the phenotypes of mutants with altered expression patterns. The SMK1 promoter contains an upstream activating sequence (UAS(S)) that specifically interacts with the transcriptional activator Abf1p. The Abf1p-binding sites from the early HOP1 and the middle SMK1 promoters are functionally interchangeable, demonstrating that these elements do not play a direct role in their differential transcriptional timing. Timing of SMK1 expression is determined by another cis-acting DNA sequence termed MSE (for middle sporulation element). The MSE is required not only for activation of SMK1 transcription during middle sporulation but also for its repression during vegetative growth and early meiosis. In addition, the SMK1 MSE can repress vegetative expression in the context of the HOP1 promoter and convert HOP1 from an early to a middle gene. SMK1 function is not contingent on its tight transcriptional regulation as a middle sporulation-specific gene. However, promoter mutants with different quantitative defects in SMK1 transcript levels during middle sporulation show distinct sporulation phenotypes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology