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Genetics. 2003 Sep;165(1):65-81.

Genomic instability induced by mutations in Saccharomyces cerevisiae POL1.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5324, USA.


Mutations of chromosome replication genes can be one of the early events that promote genomic instability. Among genes that are involved in chromosomal replication, DNA polymerase alpha is essential for initiation of replication and lagging-strand synthesis. Here we examined the effect of two mutations in S. cerevisiae POL1, pol1-1 and pol1-17, on a microsatellite (GT)(16) tract. The pol1-17 mutation elevated the mutation rate 13-fold by altering sequences both inside and downstream of the (GT)(16) tract, whereas the pol1-1 mutation increased the mutation rate 54-fold by predominantly altering sequences downstream of the (GT)(16) tract in a RAD52-dependent manner. In a rad52 null mutant background pol1-1 and pol1-17 also exhibited different plasmid and chromosome loss phenotypes. Deletions of mismatch repair (MMR) genes induce a differential synergistic increase in the mutation rates of pol1-1 and pol1-17. These findings suggest that perturbations of DNA replication in these two pol1 mutants are caused by different mechanisms, resulting in various types of mutations. Thus, mutations of POL1 can induce a variety of mutator phenotypes and can be a source of genomic instability in cells.

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