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Genetics. 1997 Jul;146(3):797-816.

A general method for identifying recessive diploid-specific mutations in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, its application to the isolation of mutants blocked at intermediate stages of meiotic prophase and characterization of a new gene SAE2.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138-2092, USA.


We describe a general new approach for identifying recessive mutations that affect diploid strains of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the application of this method to the identification of mutations that confer an intermediate block in meiotic prophase chromosome metabolism. The method uses a temperature-sensitive conjugation mutation ste7-1 in combination with homothallism. The mutations of interest confer a defect in spore formation that is dependent upon a gene required for initiation of meiotic recombination and development of meiosis-specific chromosome structure (SPO11). Identified in this screen were null mutations of the DMC1 gene, nonnull mutations of RAD50 (rad50S), and mutations in three new genes designed SAE1, SAE2 and SAE3 (Sporulation in the Absence of Spo Eleven). Molecular characterization of the SAE2 gene and characterization of meiotic and mitotic phenotypes of sae2 mutants are also presented. The phenotypes conferred by a sae2 null mutation are virtually indistinguishable from those conferred by the previously identified nonnull mutations of RAD50 (rad50S). Most notably, both mutations confer only weak sensitivity to the radiomimetic agent methyl methane sulfonate (MMS) but completely block resection and turnover of meiosis-specific double-strand breaks. These observations provide further evidence that this constellation of phenotypes identifies a specific molecular function.

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