An Inducible System for Silencing Establishment Reveals a Stepwise Mechanism in Which Anchoring at the Nuclear Periphery Precedes Heterochromatin Formation

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Isabelle Loïodice, Mickael Garnier, Ivaylo Nikolov, Angela Taddei

In eukaryotic cells, silent chromatin is mainly found at the nuclear periphery forming subnuclear compartments that favor silencing establishment. Here, we set up an inducible system to monitor silencing establishment at an ectopic locus in relation with its subnuclear localization in budding yeast. We previously showed that introducing LacI bound lacO arrays in proximity to gene flanked by HML silencers favors the recruitment of the yeast silencing complex SIR at this locus, leading to its silencing and anchoring at the nuclear periphery. Using an inducible version of this system, we show that silencing establishment is a stepwise process occurring over several cell cycles, with the progressive recruitment of the SIR complex. In contrast, we observed a rapid, SIR-independent perinuclear anchoring, induced by the high amount of LacI binding at the lacO array leading to nucleosome eviction at this array and to the phosphorylation of H2A in the neighboring nucleosomes by Mec1 kinase. While the initial phosphorylation of H2A (H2A-P) and perinuclear anchoring are independent of the SIR complex, its latter recruitment stabilizes H2A-P and reinforces the perinuclear anchoring. Finally, we showed that Sir3 spreading stabilizes nucleosomes and limits the access of specific DNA-binding protein to DNA.