It has become clear that in Saccharomyces cerevisiae the transcription of ribosomal protein genes, which makes up a major proportion of the total transcription by RNA polymerase II, is controlled by the interaction of three transcription factors, Rap1, Fhl1, and Ifh1. Of these, only Rap1 binds directly to DNA and only Ifh1 is absent when transcription is repressed. We have examined further the nature of this interaction and find that Ifh1 is actually associated with at least two complexes. In addition to its association with Rap1 and Fhl1, Ifh1 forms a complex (CURI) with casein kinase 2 (CK2), Utp22, and Rrp7. Fhl1 is loosely associated with the CURI complex; its absence partially destabilizes the complex. The CK2 within the complex phosphorylates Ifh1 in vitro but no other members of the complex. Two major components of this complex, Utp22 and Rrp7, are essential participants in the processing of pre-rRNA. Depletion of either protein, but not of other proteins in the early processing steps, brings about a substantial increase in ribosomal protein mRNA. We propose a model in which the CURI complex is a key mediator between the two parallel pathways necessary for ribosome synthesis: the transcription and processing of pre-rRNA and the transcription of ribosomal protein genes.
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