URS1 is a transcriptional repressor site found in the promoters of a wide variety of yeast genes that are induced under stress conditions. In the context of meiotic promoters, URS1 sites act as repressor sequences during mitosis and function as activator sites during meiosis. We have investigated the sequence requirements of the URS1 site of the meiosis-specific HOP1 gene (URS1H) and have found differences compared with a URS1 site from a nonmeiotic gene. We have also observed that the sequence specificity for meiotic activation at this site differs from that for mitotic repression. Base pairs flanking the conserved core sequence enhance meiotic induction but are not required for mitotic repression of HOP1. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays of mitotic and meiotic cell extracts show a complex pattern of DNA-protein complexes, suggesting that several different protein factors bind specifically to the site. We have determined that one of the complexes of URS1H is formed by replication protein A (RPA). Although RPA binds to the double-stranded URS1H site in vitro, it has much higher affinity for single-stranded than for double-stranded URS1H, and one-hybrid assays suggest that RPA does not bind to this site at detectable levels in vivo. In addition, conditional-lethal mutations in RPA were found to have no effect on URS1H-mediated repression. These results suggest that although RPA binds to URS1H in vitro, it does not appear to have a functional role in transcriptional repression through this site in vivo
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