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EMBO J. 2005 Jan 12;24(1):190-8. Epub 2004 Dec 16.

A novel gene amplification system in yeast based on double rolling-circle replication.

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Department of Molecular Biomechanics, School of Life Science, The Graduate University for Advanced Studies (Sokendai), Myodaiji, Okazaki, Japan.


Gene amplification is involved in various biological phenomena such as cancer development and drug resistance. However, the mechanism is largely unknown because of the complexity of the amplification process. We describe a gene amplification system in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that is based on double rolling-circle replication utilizing break-induced replication. This system produced three types of amplification products. Type-1 products contain 5-7 inverted copies of the amplification marker, leu2d. Type-2 products contain 13 to approximately 100 copies of leu2d (up to approximately 730 kb increase) with a novel arrangement present as randomly oriented sequences flanked by inverted leu2d copies. Type-3 products are acentric multicopy minichromosomes carrying leu2d. Structures of type-2 and -3 products resemble those of homogeneously staining region and double minutes of higher eukaryotes, respectively. Interestingly, products analogous to these were generated at low frequency without deliberate DNA cleavage. These features strongly suggest that the processes described here may contribute to natural gene amplification in higher eukaryotes.

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