PloS one

The MluI cell cycle box (MCB) motifs, but not damage-responsive elements (DREs), are responsible for the transcriptional induction of the rhp51+ gene in response to DNA replication stress.

PMID 25372384


DNA replication stress induces the transcriptional activation of rhp51+, a fission yeast recA homolog required for repair of DNA double strand breaks. However, the mechanism by which DNA replication stress activates rhp51+ transcription is not understood. The promoter region of rhp51+ contains two damage-responsive elements (DREs) and two MluI cell cycle box (MCB) motifs. Using luciferase reporter assays, we examined the role of these elements in rhp51+ transcription. The full-length rhp51+ promoter and a promoter fragment containing MCB motifs only, but not a fragment containing DREs, mediated transcriptional activation upon DNA replication stress. Removal of the MCB motifs from the rhp51+ promoter abolished the induction of rhp51+ transcription by DNA replication stress. Consistent with a role for MCB motifs in rhp51+ transcription activation, deletion of the MBF (MCB-binding factor) co-repressors Nrm1 and Yox1 precluded rhp51+ transcriptional induction in response to DNA replication stress. Using cells deficient in checkpoint signaling molecules, we found that the Rad3-Cds1/Chk1 pathway partially mediated rhp51+ transcription in response to DNA replication stress, suggesting the involvement of unidentified checkpoint signaling pathways. Because MBF is critical for G1/S transcription, we examined how the cell cycle affected rhp51+ transcription. The transcription of rhp51+ and cdc18+, an MBF-dependent G1/S gene, peaked simultaneously in synchronized cdc25-22 cells. Furthermore, DNA replication stress maintained transcription of rhp51+ similarly to cdc18+. Collectively, these results suggest that MBF and its regulators mediate rhp51+ transcription in response to DNA replication stress, and underlie rhp51+ transcription at the G1/S transition.