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Semin Cell Biol. 1995 Apr;6(2):65-72.

DNA structure checkpoints in fission yeast.

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  • 1MRC Cell Mutation Unit, Sussex University, Falmer, UK.


A DNA structure checkpoint can be defined as any checkpoint which responds to changes in the structure of the DNA either through the cell cycle, or in response to outside events such as DNA damage. Genetic analysis of DNA structure checkpoints in fission yeast has identified several distinct pathways responding to different circumstances. Three checkpoints have been identified which inhibit the onset of mitosis. (1) A radiation checkpoint which prevents mitosis after DNA damage. (2) A checkpoint linking S phase and mitosis (the S-M checkpoint) that prevents mitosis when DNA synthesis is incomplete. (3) A checkpoint linking G1 to mitosis (the G1-M checkpoint) that prevents the onset of mitosis in cells which are arrested in the G1 period of the cycle. A large number of genetic loci that are required for these checkpoints have been identified through mutant analysis, and the involvement of the relevant genes with the individual checkpoint pathways has been investigated. The largest class of checkpoint genes, known as the 'checkpoint rad' genes, are required for all the DNA structure checkpoints and the evidence suggests that they may also be involved in regulating DNA synthesis following precursor deprivation (hydroxyurea treatment) or when the replication fork encounters DNA damage. In this review, the available genetic and physiological evidence has been interpreted to suggest a close association between the 'checkpoint rad' class of gene products and the DNA-protein complexes that regulate and perform DNA synthesis. Biochemical evidence will be required in order to prove or disprove this hypothesis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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