The Saccharomyces cerevisiae SPT7 gene encodes a very acidic protein important for transcription in vivo.
L J Gansheroff, C Dollard, P Tan, F Winston


Mutations in the SPT7 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae originally were identified as suppressors of Ty and delta insertion mutations in the 5' regions of the HIS4 and LYS2 genes. Other genes that have been identified in mutant hunts of this type have been shown to play a role in transcription. In this work we show that SPT7 is also important for proper transcription in vivo. We have cloned and sequenced the SPT7 gene and have shown that it encodes a large, acidic protein that is localized to the nucleus. The SPT7 protein contains a bromodomain sequence; a deletion that removes the bromodomain from the SPT7 protein causes no detectable mutant phenotype. Strains that contain an spt7 null mutation are viable but grow very slowly and have transcriptional defects at many loci including insertion mutations, Ty elements, the INO1 gene and the MFA1 gene. These transcriptional defects and other mutant phenotypes are similar to those caused by certain mutations in SPT15, which encodes the TATA binding protein (TBP). The similarity of the phenotypes of spt7 and spt15 mutants, including effects of spt7 mutations on the transcription start site of certain genes, suggests that SPT7 plays an important role in transcription initiation in vivo.