Altered fidelity of mitotic chromosome transmission in cell cycle mutants of S. cerevisiae

L. H. Hartwell, D. Smith

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289 Scopus citations


Thirteen of 14 temperature-sensitive mutants deficient in successive steps of mitotic chromosome transmission (cdc2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 20) from spindle pole body separation to a late stage of nuclear division exhibited a dramatic increase in the frequency of chromosome loss and/or mitotic recombination when they were grown at their maximum permissive temperatures. The increase in chromosome loss and/or recombination is likely to be due to the deficiency of functional gene product rather than to an aberrant function of the mutant gene product since the mutant alleles are, with one exception, recessive to the wild-type allele for this phenotype. The generality of this result suggests that a delay in almost any stage of chromosome replication or segregation leads to a decrease in the fidelity of mitotic chromosome transmission. In contrast, temperature-sensitive mutants defective in the control step of the cell cycle (cdc28), in cytokinesis (cd3) or in protein synthesis (ils1) did not exhibit increased recombination or chromosome loss. - Based upon previous results with mutants and DNA-damaging agents in a variety of organisms, we suggest that the induction of mitotic recombination in certain mutants is due to the action of a repair pathway upon nicks or gaps left in the DNA. This interpretation is supported by the fact that the induced recombination is dependent upon the RAD52 gene product, an essential component in the recombinogenic DNA repair pathway. Gene products whose deficiency leads to induced recombination are, therefore, strong candidates for proteins that function in DNA metabolism. Among the mutants that induce recombination are those known to be defective in some aspect of DNA replication (cd2, 6, 8, 9) as well as some mutants defective in the G2 (cdc13 and 17) and M (cdc5 and 14) phases of the mitotic cycle. We suggest that special aspects of DNA metabolism may be occurring in G2 and M in order to prepare the chromosomes for proper segregation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-395
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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