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Mutat Res. 1992 Dec 1;284(1):111-23.

DNA damage induced mating type switching in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Toxicology, Harvard University, School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115.


Haploid cells of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are able to undergo a differentiation-like process: they can switch their mating type between the a and the alpha state. The molecular mechanism of this interconversion of mating types is intrachromosomal gene conversion. It has been shown in a variety of studies that mating type switching in heterothallic strains can be induced by DNA damaging agents, and that different DNA damaging agents differ in the length of incubation after treatment required for induction. Because X-rays induce switching immediately after irradiation and because the DNA double-strand break repair pathway is required for switching, the event initiating heterothallic mating type switching is likely to be a DNA double-strand break. Therefore the assay for heterothallic mating type switching may screen for the induction of DNA double-strand breaks. Several aspects indicating a relationship of mating type switching to mechanisms associated with carcinogenesis are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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