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EMBO J. 2000 Mar 15;19(6):1389-96.

Fission yeast switches mating type by a replication-recombination coupled process.

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Unite des Virus Oncogenes, URA 1644 du CNRS, Departement des Biotechnologies, Institut Pasteur, 25 rue du Dr Roux, 75724 Paris, Cedex 15, France.


Fission yeast exhibits a homothallic life cycle, in which the mating type of the cell mitotically alternates in a highly regulated fashion. Pedigree analysis of dividing cells has shown that only one of the two sister cells switches mating type. It was shown recently that a site- and strand-specific DNA modification at the mat1 locus precedes mating-type switching. By tracking the fate of mat1 DNA throughout the cell cycle with a PCR assay, we identified a novel DNA intermediate of mating-type switching in S-phase. The time and rate of appearance and disappearance of this DNA intermediate are consistent with a model in which mating-type switching occurs through a replication-recombination coupled pathway. Such a process provides experimental evidence in support of a copy choice recombination model in Schizosaccharomyces pombe mating-type switching and is reminiscent of the sister chromatid recombination used to complete replication in the presence of certain types of DNA damage.

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