The dual role of autonomously replicating sequences as origins of replication and as silencers

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada.
Current Genetics (Impact Factor: 2.68). 08/2009; 55(4):357-63. DOI: 10.1007/s00294-009-0265-7
Source: PubMed


Autonomously replicating sequences (ARSs) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been extensively characterized as both origins of DNA replication and as chromatin repressors/silencers. It has been conclusively shown that the origin and the silencer activities of ARS are substantially, but not entirely interchangeable and that they are modulated by position effects and chromatin environment. It remains unclear how these two quite divergent functions of ARS co-exist. This perspective focuses on recent advances, which have shown that slight differences in ARSs can modulate their affinity for origin recognition complex and their activity as silencers or origins.

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    • "Rare conversions between the silent and active states confer a quasi-stable pattern of epigenetically controlled gene expression in the vicinity of the telomeres [53]. TPE has been extensively reviewed [15,53,54] and is schematically presented in Figure 2A. "
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    ABSTRACT: The remarkable ability of many parasites to evade host immunity is the key to their success and pervasiveness. The immune evasion is directly linked to the silencing of the members of extended families of genes that encode for major parasite antigens. At any time only one of these genes is active. Infrequent switches to other members of the gene family help the parasites elude the immune system and cause prolonged maladies. For most pathogens, the detailed mechanisms of gene silencing and switching are poorly understood. On the other hand, studies in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have revealed similar mechanisms of gene repression and switching and have provided significant insights into the molecular basis of these phenomena. This information is becoming increasingly relevant to the genetics of the parasites. Here we summarize recent advances in parasite epigenetics and emphasize the similarities between S. cerevisiae and pathogens such as Plasmodium, Trypanosoma, Candida, and Pneumocystis. We also outline current challenges in the control and the treatment of the diseases caused by these parasites and link them to epigenetics and the wealth of knowledge acquired from budding yeast.
    Epigenetics & Chromatin 11/2013; 6(1):40. DOI:10.1186/1756-8935-6-40 · 5.33 Impact Factor
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    • "Even more, mutations in the WTW consensus of one silencer ARS (ARS317) did not affect its replicator activity [8]. It seems conceivable that ARSs could utilize the WTW motif for replication and use an alternative B1 element for gene silencing [21]. It also seems possible that silencer and replicator ARSs have different B1 elements and different type of interaction with ORC [4,21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Autonomously Replicating Sequences (ARS) in S. cerevisiae serve as origins of DNA replication or as components of cis-acting silencers, which impose positional repression at the mating type loci and at the telomeres. Both types of ARS can act as replicators or silencers, however it is not clear how these quite diverse functions are executed. It is believed that all ARS contain a core module of an essential ARS Consensus Sequence (ACS) and a non-essential B1 element. Results We have tested how the B1 elements contribute to the silencer and replicator function of ARS. We report that the ACS-B1 orientation of ARS has a profound effect on the levels of gene silencing at telomeres. We also report that the destruction of the canonical B1 elements in two silencer ARS (ARS317 and ARS319) has no effect on their silencer and replicator activity. Conclusions The observed orientation effects on gene silencing suggest that ARSs can act as both proto-silencers and as insulator elements. In addition, the lack of B1 suggests that the ACS-B1 module could be different in silencer and replicator ARS.
    BMC Molecular Biology 11/2012; 13(1):34. DOI:10.1186/1471-2199-13-34 · 2.19 Impact Factor
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    • "The Y′ element found integrated into the telomeres of type I survivors of telomere-induced senescence in S. cerevisiae contains a yeast autonomously replicating sequence (ARS) [27]. The ARSs in Y′ elements are nonfunctional in the proximity of telomere sequences [28, 29]. To assess whether any SV40 origin of replication is functional in cell line AG11395, we determined whether a plasmid containing a wild-type origin of replication would be replicated when transfected into this cell line (Figure 1). "
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    ABSTRACT: The alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) is a recombination-based mechanism of telomere maintenance activated in 5–20% of human cancers. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae , survivors that arise after inactivation of telomerase can be classified as type I or type II ALT. In type I, telomeres have a tandem array structure, with each subunit consisting of a subtelomeric Y′ element and short telomere sequence. Telomeres in type II have only long telomere repeats and require Sgs1, the S. cerevisiae RecQ family helicase. We previously described the first human ALT cell line, AG11395, that has a telomere structure similar to type I ALT yeast cells. This cell line lacks the activity of the Werner syndrome protein, a human RecQ helicase. The telomeres in this cell line consist of tandem repeats containing SV40 DNA, including the origin of replication, and telomere sequence. We investigated the role of the SV40 origin of replication and the effects of Werner protein and telomerase on telomere structure and maintenance in AG11395 cells. We report that the expression of Werner protein facilitates the transition in human cells of ALT type I like telomeres to type II like telomeres in some aspects. These findings have implications for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
    Journal of Oncology 03/2012; 2012(3):806382. DOI:10.1155/2012/806382
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