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Genetics. 1999 Nov;153(3):1153-69.

Fission yeast mutants that alleviate transcriptional silencing in centromeric flanking repeats and disrupt chromosome segregation.

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Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, Scotland.


In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe genes are transcriptionally silenced when placed within centromeres, within or close to the silent mating-type loci or adjacent to telomeres. Factors required to maintain mating-type silencing also affect centromeric silencing and chromosome segregation. We isolated mutations that alleviate repression of marker genes in the inverted repeats flanking the central core of centromere I. Mutations csp1 to 13 (centromere: suppressor of position effect) defined 12 loci. Ten of the csp mutants have no effect on mat2/3 or telomere silencing. All csp mutants allow some expression of genes in the centromeric flanking repeat, but expression in the central core is undetectable. Consistent with defective centromere structure and function, chromosome loss rates are elevated in all csp mutants. Mutants csp1 to 6 are temperature-sensitive lethal and csp3 and csp6 cells are defective in mitosis at 36 degrees. csp7 to 13 display a high incidence of lagging chromosomes on late anaphase spindles. Thus, by screening for mutations that disrupt silencing in the flanking region of a fission yeast centromere a novel collection of mutants affecting centromere architecture and chromosome segregation has been isolated.

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