Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 1999 Jul 8;400(6740):181-4.

Orientation of DNA replication establishes mating-type switching pattern in S. pombe.

Author information

Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory, ABL-Basic Research Program, NCI Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, Maryland 21702-1201, USA.


The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe normally has haploid cells of two mating types, which differ at the chromosomal locus mat1. After two consecutive asymmetric cell divisions, only one in four 'grand-daughter' cells undergoes a 'mating-type switch', in which genetic information is transferred to mat1 from the mat2-P or mat3-M donor loci. This switching pattern probably results from an imprinting event at mat1 that marks one sister chromatid in a strand-specific manner, and is related to a site-specific, double-stranded DNA break at mat1. Here we show that the genetic imprint is a strand-specific, alkali-labile DNA modification at mat1. The DNA break is an artefact, created from the imprint during DNA purification. We also propose and test the model that mat1 is preferentially replicated by a centromere-distal origin(s), so that the strand-specific imprint occurs only during lagging-strand synthesis. Altering the origin of replication, by inverting mat1 or introducing an origin of replication, affects the imprinting and switching efficiencies in predicted ways. Two-dimensional gel analysis confirmed that mat1 is preferentially replicated by a centromere-distal origin(s). Thus, the DNA replication machinery may confer different developmental potential to sister cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center