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Mol Cell Biol. Jul 1996; 16(7): 3235–3244.
PMCID: PMC231317

Yeast pip3/mec3 mutants fail to delay entry into S phase and to slow DNA replication in response to DNA damage, and they define a functional link between Mec3 and DNA primase.


The catalytic DNA primase subunit of the DNA polymerase alpha-primase complex is encoded by the essential PRI1 gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To identify factors that functionally interact with yeast DNA primase in living cells, we developed a genetic screen for mutants that are lethal at the permissive temperature in a cold-sensitive pril-2 genetic background. Twenty-four recessive mutations belonging to seven complementation groups were identified. Some mutants showed additional phenotypes, such as increased sensitivity to UV irradiation, methyl methanesulfonate, and hydroxyurea, that were suggestive of defects in DNA repair and/or checkpoint mechanisms. We have cloned and characterized the gene of one complementation group, PIP3, whose product is necessary both for delaying entry into S phase or mitosis when cells are UV irradiated in G1 or G2 phase and for lowering the rate of ongoing DNA synthesis in the presence of methyl methanesulfonate. PIP3 turned out to be the MEC3 gene, previously identified as a component of the G2 DNA damage checkpoint. The finding that Mec3 is also required for the G1- and S-phase DNA damage checkpoints, together with the analysis of genetic interactions between a mec3 null allele and several conditional DNA replication mutations at the permissive temperature, suggests that Mec3 could be part of a mechanism coupling DNA replication with repair of DNA damage, and DNA primase might be involved in this process.

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Selected References

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