Tandem repeats of the pentanucleotide 5'-CCGNN (where N indicates any base) were previously shown to exclude nucleosomes in vitro (Y.-H. Wang and J. D. Griffith, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93:8863-8867, 1996). To determine the in vivo effects of these sequences, we replaced the upstream regulatory sequences of the HIS4 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae with either 12 or 48 tandem copies of CCGNN. Both tracts activated HIS4 transcription. We found that (CCGNN)12 tracts elevated meiotic recombination (hot spot activity), whereas the (CCGNN)48 tract repressed recombination (cold spot activity). In addition, a 'pure' tract of (CCGAT)12 activated both transcription and meiotic recombination. We suggest that the cold spot activity of the (CCGNN)48 tract is related to the phenomenon of the suppressive interactions of adjacent hot spots previously described in yeast (Q.-Q. Fan, F. Xu, and T. D. Petes, Mol. Cell. Biol. 15:1679-1688, 1995; Q.-Q. Fan, F. Xu, M. A. White, and T. D. Petes, Genetics 145:661-670, 1997; T.-C. Wu and M. Lichten, Genetics 140:55-66, 1995; L. Xu and N. Kleckner, EMBO J. 16:5115- 5128, 1995).