2 February 2018
The expression of the phosphate transporter Pho84 in fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe is repressed in phosphate-rich medium and induced during phosphate starvation. Two other phosphate-responsive genes in S. pombe ( pho1 and tgp1) had been shown to be repressed in cis by transcription of a long noncoding (lnc) RNA from the upstream flanking gene, but whether pho84 expression is regulated in this manner is unclear. Here, we show that repression of pho84 is enforced by transcription of the SPBC8E4.02c locus upstream of pho84 to produce a lncRNA that we name prt2 ( pho - repressive transcript 2). We identify two essential elements of the prt2 promoter, a HomolD box and a TATA box, mutations of which inactivate the prt2 promoter and de-repress the downstream pho84 promoter under phosphate-replete conditions. We find that prt2 promoter inactivation also elicits a cascade effect on the adjacent downstream prt (lncRNA) and pho1 (acid phosphatase) genes, whereby increased pho84 transcription down-regulates prt lncRNA transcription and thereby de-represses pho1. Our results establish a unified model for the repressive arm of fission yeast phosphate homeostasis, in which transcription of prt2, prt, and nc-tgp1 lncRNAs interferes with the promoters of the flanking pho84, pho1, and tgp1 genes, respectively.