Ash1p is a site-specific DNA-binding protein that actively represses transcription.
ASH1 encodes a protein that is localized specifically to the daughter cell nucleus, where it has been proposed to repress transcription of the HO gene. Using Ash1p purified from baculovirus-infected insect cells, we have shown that Ash1p binds specific DNA sequences in the HO promoter. DNase I protection analyses showed that Ash1p recognizes a consensus sequence, YTGAT. Mutation of this consensus abolishes Ash1p DNA binding in vitro. We have shown that Ash1p requires an intact zinc-binding domain in its C terminus for repression of HO in vivo and that this domain may be involved in DNA binding. A heterologous DNA-binding domain fused to an N-terminal segment of Ash1p functions as an active repressor of transcription. Our studies indicate that Ash1p is a DNA-binding protein of the GATA family with a separable transcriptional repression domain.