Genetic interactions of MAF1 identify a role for Med20 in transcriptional repression of ribosomal protein genes

Ian M. Willis, Gordon Chua, Amy H. Tong, Renee L. Brost, Timothy R. Hughes, Charles Boone, Robyn D. Moir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Transcriptional repression of ribosomal components and tRNAs is coordinately regulated in response to a wide variety of environmental stresses. Part of this response involves the convergence of different nutritional and stress signaling pathways on Maf1, a protein that is essential for repressing transcription by RNA polymerase (pol) III in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here we identify the functions buffering yeast cells that are unable to down-regulate transcription by RNA pol III. MAF1 genetic interactions identified in screens of non-essential gene-deletions and conditionally expressed essential genes reveal a highly interconnected network of 64 genes involved in ribosome biogenesis, RNA pol II transcription, tRNA modification, ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis and other processes. A survey of non-essential MAF1 synthetic sick/lethal (SSL) genes identified six gene-deletions that are defective in transcriptional repression of ribosomal protein (RP) genes following rapamycin treatment. This subset of MAF1 SSL genes included MED20 which encodes a head module subunit of the RNA pol II Mediator complex. Genetic interactions between MAF1 and subunits in each structural module of Mediator were investigated to examine the functional relationship between these transcriptional regulators. Gene expression profiling identified a prominent and highly selective role for Med20 in the repression of RP gene transcription under multiple conditions. In addition, attenuated repression of RP genes by rapamycin was observed in a strain deleted for the Mediator tail module subunit Med16. The data suggest that Mediator and Maf1 function in parallel pathways to negatively regulate RP mRNA and tRNA synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1000112
JournalPLoS genetics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cancer Research


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