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Genetics. Mar 1991; 127(3): 489–496.
PMCID: PMC1204376

The Mechanism of Fission Yeast Mating Type Interconversion: Seal/Replicate/Cleave Model of Replication across the Double-Stranded Break Site at Mat1


The interconversion of cell type in the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, is initiated by a double-stranded break (DSB) found at the mating type locus (mat1). A heritable site- and strand-specific DNA ``imprinting'' event at mat1 was recently hypothesized to be required to make the mat1 locus cleavable, and the DSB was suggested to be produced one generation before the actual switching event. It is known that only one cell among four granddaughters of a cell ever switches, and the sister of the recently switched cell switches efficiently in consecutive cell divisions. The feature of consecutive switching creates a major difficulty of having to replicate chromosomes possessing the DSB. The mat1 cis-acting leaky mutation, called smt-s, reduces the level of the DSB required for switching and is shown here to be a 27-bp deletion located 50 bp away from the cut site. Determination of the pattern and frequency of switching of the mutant allele by cell lineage studies has allowed us to conclude the following: (1) the chromosome with the DSB is sealed and replicated, then one of the specific chromatids is cleaved again to generate switching-competent cells in consecutive cell divisions and (2) the smt-s mutation affects DNA cleavage and not the hypothesized DNA imprinting step.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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