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Genetics. 2002 Jun;161(2):521-34.

Overlapping roles of the spindle assembly and DNA damage checkpoints in the cell-cycle response to altered chromosomes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


The MAD2-dependent spindle checkpoint blocks anaphase until all chromosomes have achieved successful bipolar attachment to the mitotic spindle. The DNA damage and DNA replication checkpoints block anaphase in response to DNA lesions that may include single-stranded DNA and stalled replication forks. Many of the same conditions that activate the DNA damage and DNA replication checkpoints also activated the spindle checkpoint. The mad2Delta mutation partially relieved the arrest responses of cells to mutations affecting the replication proteins Mcm3p and Pol1p. Thus a previously unrecognized aspect of spindle checkpoint function may be to protect cells from defects in DNA replication. Furthermore, in cells lacking either the DNA damage or the DNA replication checkpoints, the spindle checkpoint contributed to the arrest responses of cells to the DNA-damaging agent methyl methanesulfonate, the replication inhibitor hydroxyurea, and mutations affecting Mcm2p and Orc2p. Thus the spindle checkpoint was sensitive to a wider range of chromosomal perturbations than previously recognized. Finally, the DNA replication checkpoint did not contribute to the arrests of cells in response to mutations affecting ORC, Mcm proteins, or DNA polymerase delta. Thus the specificity of this checkpoint may be more limited than previously recognized.

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