Open Access Research article

Control of replication initiation by the Sum1/Rfm1/Hst1 histone deacetylase

Jan M Weber1, Horst Irlbacher2 and Ann E Ehrenhofer-Murray1*

Author Affiliations

1 Zentrum für Medizinische Biotechnologie, Abteilung Genetik, Universität Duisburg-Essen, 45117 Essen, Germany

2 Bayer Schering Pharma, 13342 Berlin, Germany

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BMC Molecular Biology 2008, 9:100  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-9-100

Published: 6 November 2008



Replication initiation at origins of replication in the yeast genome takes place on chromatin as a template, raising the question how histone modifications, for instance histone acetylation, influence origin firing. Initiation requires binding of the replication initiator, the Origin Recognition Complex (ORC), to a consensus sequence within origins. In addition, other proteins bind to recognition sites in the vicinity of ORC and support initiation. In previous work, we identified Sum1 as an origin-binding protein that contributes to efficient replication initiation. Sum1 is part of the Sum1/Rfm1/Hst1 complex that represses meiotic genes during vegetative growth via histone deacetylation by the histone deacetylase (HDAC) Hst1.


In this study, we investigated how Sum1 affected replication initiation. We found that it functioned in initiation as a component of the Sum1/Rfm1/Hst1 complex, implying a role for histone deacetylation in origin activity. We identified several origins in the yeast genome whose activity depended on both Sum1 and Hst1. Importantly, sum1Δ or hst1Δ caused a significant increase in histone H4 lysine 5 (H4 K5) acetylation levels, but not other H4 acetylation sites, at those origins. Furthermore, mutation of lysines to glutamines in the H4 tail, which imitates the constantly acetylated state, resulted in a reduction of origin activity comparable to that in the absence of Hst1, showing that deacetylation of H4 was important for full initiation capacity of these origins.


Taken together, our results demonstrate a role for histone deacetylation in origin activity and reveal a novel aspect of origin regulation by chromatin. These results suggest recruitment of the Sum1/Rfm1/Hst1 complex to a number of yeast origins, where Hst1 deacetylated H4 K5.