Transcription levels of a noncoding RNA orchestrate opposing regulatory and cell fate outcomes in yeast

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Transcription through noncoding regions of the genome is pervasive. How these transcription events regulate gene expression remains poorly understood. Here, we report that, in S. cerevisiae, the levels of transcription through a noncoding region, IRT2, located upstream in the promoter of the inducer of meiosis, IME1, regulate opposing chromatin and transcription states. At low levels, the act of IRT2 transcription promotes histone exchange, delivering acetylated histone H3 lysine 56 to chromatin locally. The subsequent open chromatin state directs transcription factor recruitment and induces downstream transcription to repress the IME1 promoter and meiotic entry. Conversely, increasing transcription turns IRT2 into a repressor by promoting transcription-coupled chromatin assembly. The two opposing functions of IRT2 transcription shape a regulatory circuit, which ensures a robust cell-type-specific control of IME1 expression and yeast meiosis. Our data illustrate how intergenic transcription levels are key to controlling local chromatin state, gene expression, and cell fate outcomes.

Journal details

Journal Cell Reports
Volume 34
Issue number 3
Pages 108643
Available online
Publication date