Nucleosome positioning in the NPTII neomycin phosphotransferase gene on a yeast plasmid in the repressed and active states

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A yeast plasmid was constructed to contain a hybrid GAL-CYC promoter, the NPTII neomycin phosphotransferase gene, and the FRT sequence between them. The CYC part of the GAL-CYC promoter harbored four upstream activating sequences (UASs) and two close TATA boxes. NPTII was efficiently expressed upon induction with galactose, conferring G418 resistance on yeast cells. Nucleosome positioning was studied in repressed and induced NPTII in transformed cells. A stable positioning of three nucleosomes was detected under repressive conditions (growth on glucose). Two nucleosomes were on the CYC part of the promoter, one including both of the TATA boxes. The third nucleosome overlapped the FRT sequence and the start of the NPTII coding region. Each of the three nucleosomes displayed multiple positions, suggesting their sliding along DNA. After induction of NPTII expression with galactose, a sliding of two nucleosomes was detected, exposing the TATA box and a long promoter segment. The 5′-distal nucleosome moved closer to the UASs, bringing them closer to the TATA box, which was assumed to facilitate the assembly of the preinitiation complex. The two nucleosomes slid independently of each other. The second nucleosome moved towards the FRT sequence and repositioned at its nucleosome positioning signal. Galactose-induced expression did not affect the nucleosome positioning in the coding region of NPTII. Unidirectional sliding and repositioning were detected without induction after deacetylase inhibition with trichostatin A. Basal NPTII expression was observed without activation of the GAL-CYC promoter and after a spatial uncoupling of the coding sequence and promoter via gene inversion and was probably driven by the FRT TATA-like element, which is in the region permanently exposed in vivo.

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