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Positive and negative regulatory elements control expression of the yeast retrotransposon Ty3.


We report the results of an analysis of Ty3 transcription and identification of Ty3 regions that mediate pheromone and mating-type regulation to coordinate its expression with the yeast life cycle. A set of strains was constructed which was isogenic except for the number of Ty3 elements, which varied from zero to three. Analysis of Ty3 expression in these strains showed that each of the three elements was transcribed and that each element was regulated. Dissection of the long terminal repeat regulatory region by Northern blot analysis of deletion mutants and reporter gene analysis showed that the upstream junction of Ty3 with flanking chromosomal sequences contained a negative control region. A 19-bp fragment (positions 56-74) containing one consensus copy and one 7 of 8-bp match to the pheromone response element (PRE) consensus was sufficient to mediate pheromone induction in either haploid cell type. Deletion of this region, however, did not abolish expression, indicating that other sequences also activate transcription. A 24-bp block immediately downstream of the PRE region contained a sequence similar to the a1-alpha 2 consensus that conferred mating-type control. A single base pair mutation in the region separating the PRE and a1-alpha 2 sequences blocked pheromone induction, but not mating-type control. Thus, the long terminal repeat of Ty3 is a compact, highly regulated, mobile promoter which is responsive to cell type and mating.

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