The Paf1 Complex Broadly Impacts The Transcriptome Of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae
The Polymerase Associated Factor 1 complex (Paf1C) is a multifunctional regulator of eukaryotic gene expression important for the coordination of transcription with chromatin modification and post-transcriptional processes. In this study, we investigated the extent to which the functions of Paf1C combine to regulate the Saccharomyces cerevisiae transcriptome. While previous studies focused on the roles of Paf1C in controlling mRNA levels, here, we took advantage of a genetic background that enriches for unstable transcripts, and demonstrate that deletion of PAF1 affects all classes of Pol II transcripts including multiple classes of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs). By conducting a de novo differential expression analysis independent of gene annotations, we found that Paf1 positively and negatively regulates antisense transcription at multiple loci. Comparisons with nascent transcript data revealed that many, but not all, changes in RNA levels detected by our analysis are due to changes in transcription instead of post-transcriptional events. To investigate the mechanisms by which Paf1 regulates protein-coding genes, we focused on genes involved in iron and phosphate homeostasis, which were differentially affected by PAF1 deletion. Our results indicate that Paf1 stimulates phosphate gene expression through a mechanism that is independent of any individual Paf1C-dependent histone modification. In contrast, the inhibition of iron gene expression by Paf1 correlates with a defect in H3 K36 trimethylation. Finally, we showed that one iron regulon gene, FET4, is coordinately controlled by Paf1 and transcription of upstream noncoding DNA. Together, these data identify roles for Paf1C in controlling both coding and noncoding regions of the yeast genome.