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J Cell Sci. 2005 Aug 1;118(Pt 15):3543-53.

Apoptosis in budding yeast caused by defects in initiation of DNA replication.

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  • 1Department of Cell Stress Biology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA.


Apoptosis in metazoans is often accompanied by the destruction of DNA replication initiation proteins, inactivation of checkpoints and activation of cyclin-dependent kinases, which are inhibited by checkpoints that directly or indirectly require initiation proteins. Here we show that, in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, mutations in initiation proteins that attenuate both the initiation of DNA replication and checkpoints also induce features of apoptosis similar to those observed in metazoans. The apoptosis-like phenotype of initiation mutants includes the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activation of the budding-yeast metacaspase Yca1p. In contrast to a recent report that activation of Yca1p only occurs in lysed cells and does not contribute to cell death, we found that, in at least one initiation mutant, Yca1p activation occurs at an early stage of cell death (before cell lysis) and contributes to the lethal effects of the mutation harbored by this strain. Apoptosis in initiation mutants is probably caused by DNA damage associated with the combined effects of insufficient DNA replication forks to completely replicate the genome and defective checkpoints that depend on initiation proteins and/or replication forks to restrain subsequent cell-cycle events until DNA replication is complete. A similar mechanism might underlie the proapoptotic effects associated with the destruction of initiation and checkpoint proteins during apoptosis in mammals, as well as genome instability in initiation mutants of budding yeast.

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