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EMBO J. 1986 May;5(5):1003-10.

Mitotic spindle pulls but fails to separate chromosomes in type II DNA topoisomerase mutants: uncoordinated mitosis.

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Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Science, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606, Japan.


The fission yeast top2 locus is defined by five temperature-sensitive mutations that cause heat-labile activity of type II DNA topoisomerase in the cell extracts. We show that the top2 locus is a structural gene for type II topoisomerase by cloning a genomic DNA fragment that complements top2. The top2 mutants at restrictive temperature produce abnormal chromosomes at the time of mitosis; these are transiently extended into filamentous structures along with the elongating mitotic spindle but are not separated. A primary defect in top2 appears to be the formation of aberrant mitotic chromosomes inseparable by the force generated by the spindle apparatus. Consistently, the top2 cells that become lethal during mitosis contain a catenated dimer of an ARS plasmid. DNA and RNA continue to be synthesized if cytokinesis is blocked. Uncoordinated mitosis, that is the occurrence of spindle dynamics without chromosome separation, is revealed in top2, and is discussed in relation to mitotic regulation. Different phenotypes between top2 and top1-top2 described in the present paper can be explained by a previously proposed hypothesis that type II topoisomerase has dual in vivo functions: one that decatenates and unknots duplex DNAs is essential in mitosis, whereas the other which relaxes supercoils is required throughout the cell cycle if type I topoisomerase is absent.

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