Oling D, Masoom R, Kvint K
Ubp3 is a conserved ubiquitin protease that acts as an antisilencing factor in MAT and telomeric regions. Here we show that ubp3∆ mutants also display increased silencing in ribosomal DNA (rDNA). Consistent with this, RNA polymerase II occupancy is lower in cells lacking Ubp3 than in wild-type cells in all heterochromatic regions. Moreover, in a ubp3∆ mutant, unequal recombination in rDNA is highly suppressed. We present genetic evidence that this effect on rDNA recombination, but not silencing, is entirely dependent on the silencing factor Sir2. Further, ubp3∆ sir2∆ mutants age prematurely at the same rate as sir2∆ mutants. Thus our data suggest that recombination negatively influences replicative life span more so than silencing. However, in ubp3∆ mutants, recombination is not a prerequisite for aging, since cells lacking Ubp3 have a shorter life span than isogenic wild-type cells. We discuss the data in view of different models on how silencing and unequal recombination affect replicative life span and the role of Ubp3 in these processes.