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EMBO J. 1992 Feb;11(2):699-704.

Identification and characterization of yeast mutants and the gene for a cruciform cutting endonuclease.

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Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, SUNY, Stony Brook 11794.


An assay was developed that detected DNA cruciform cutting endonuclease activity in crude extracts of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A collection of temperature-sensitive strains was screened using this assay, and a mutant lacking the activity was found. The mutation leading to the enzymatic defect was mapped to the left arm of chromosome XI within 3 cM of the centromere. Cloning of the gene for this endonuclease was achieved by chromosome walking from the nearby PUT3 locus. The gene, called CCE1 (cruciform cutting endonuclease), was sequenced and found to have an open reading frame encoding a 41 kDa protein. The amino acid sequence of this eukaryotic endonuclease shows homology neither to its prokaryotic counterparts nor to other proteins in available databases. A cce1 null mutant has no obvious growth defect, and despite the ability of the CCE1 enzyme to cleave Holliday junction analogs, the mutant shows no defect in meiotic or mitotic recombination. A second cruciform cutting activity was detected in extracts from a cce1 null mutant, indicating that yeast has at least two such enzymes. The only phenotype observed for cce1 mutants is a higher than normal frequency of appearance of petite cells, suggesting that the CCE1 protein is important for the maintenance of mitochondrial DNA.

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