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Methods. 1998 Dec;16(4):423-33.

Identification of yeast meiosis-specific genes by differential display.

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Wadsworth Center, Department of Biomedical Sciences, School of Public Health, State University of New York, Albany 12201, USA.


Meiosis, a specialized cell division process, occurs in all sexually reproducing organisms. During this process a diploid cell undergoes a single round of DNA replication followed by two rounds of nuclear division to produce four haploid gametes. In yeast, the meiotic products are packaged into four spores that are enclosed in a sac known as an ascus. To enhance our understanding of the meiotic developmental pathway and spore formation, we followed differential expression of genes in meiotic versus vegetatively growing cells in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Such comparative analyses have identified five different classes of genes that are expressed at different stages of the sporulation program. We identified several meiosis-specific genes including some already known to be induced during meiosis. Here we describe one of these previously uncharacterized genes, SSP1, which plays an essential role in meiosis and spore formation. SSP1 is induced midway through meiosis, and the homozygous mutant-diploid cells fail to sporulate. In ssp1 cells, meiosis is delayed, nuclei fragment after meiosis II, and viability declines rapidly. The ssp1 defect is not related to a microtubule-cytoskeletal-dependent event and is independent of two rounds of meiotic divisions. Our results suggest that Ssp1 is likely to function in a pathway that controls meiotic nuclear divisions and coordinates meiosis and spore formation. Functional analysis of other uncharacterized genes is underway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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