The Sgs1 Helicase of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Inhibits Retrotransposition of Ty1 Multimeric Arrays Academic Article uri icon


  • Ty1 retrotransposons in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are maintained in a genetically competent but transpositionally dormant state. When located in the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) locus, Ty1 elements are transcriptionally silenced by the specialized heterochromatin that inhibits rDNA repeat recombination. In addition, transposition of all Ty1 elements is repressed at multiple posttranscriptional levels. Here, we demonstrate that Sgs1, a RecQ helicase required for genome stability, inhibits the mobility of Ty1 elements by a posttranslational mechanism. Using an assay for the mobility of Ty1 cDNA via integration or homologous recombination, we found that the mobility of both euchromatic and rDNA-Ty1 elements was increased 32- to 79-fold in sgs1Delta mutants. Increased Ty1 mobility was not due to derepression of silent rDNA-Ty1 elements, since deletion of SGS1 reduced the mitotic stability of rDNA-Ty1 elements but did not stimulate their transcription. Furthermore, deletion of SGS1 did not significantly increase the levels of total Ty1 RNA, protein, or cDNA and did not alter the level or specificity of Ty1 integration. Instead, Ty1 cDNA molecules recombined at a high frequency in sgs1Delta mutants, resulting in transposition of heterogeneous Ty1 multimers. Formation of Ty1 multimers required the homologous recombination protein Rad52 but did not involve recombination between Ty1 cDNA and genomic Ty1 elements. Therefore, Ty1 multimers that transpose at a high frequency in sgs1Delta mutants are formed by intermolecular recombination between extrachromosomal Ty1 cDNA molecules before or during integration. Our data provide the first evidence that the host cell promotes retrotransposition of monomeric Ty1 elements by repressing cDNA recombination.

author list (cited authors)

  • Bryk, M., Banerjee, M., Conte, D., & Curcio, M. J.

citation count

  • 44

publication date

  • August 2001