Nutrient deprivation and various stress conditions repress RNA polymerase III (Pol III) transcription in S. cerevisiae. The signaling pathways that relay stress and nutrient conditions converge on the conserved protein Maf1, but how Maf1 integrates environmental conditions and couples them to transcriptional repression is largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that Maf1 is phosphorylated in favorable conditions, whereas diverse unfavorable conditions lead to rapid Maf1 dephosphorylation, nuclear localization, physical association of dephosphorylated Maf1 with Pol III, and Maf1 targeting to Pol III-transcribed genes genome wide. Furthermore, Maf1 mutants defective in full dephosphorylation display maf1Delta phenotypes and are compromised for both nuclear localization and Pol III association. Repression conditions also promote TFIIIB-TFIIIC interactions in crosslinked chromatin. Taken together, Maf1 appears to integrate environmental conditions and signaling pathways through its phosphorylation state, with stress leading to dephosphorylation, association with Pol III at target loci, alterations in basal factor interactions, and transcriptional repression.
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