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Prion. 2007 Apr-Jun;1(2):101-9. Epub 2007 Apr 28.

The genetic control of the formation and propagation of the [PSI+] prion of yeast.

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Department of Biosciences, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, UK.


It is over 40 years since it was first reported that the yeast Saccahromyces cerevisiae contains two unusual cytoplasmic 'genetic' elements: [PSI(+)] and [URE3]. Remarkably the underlying determinants are protein-based rather than nucleic acid-based, i.e., that they are prions, and we have already learnt much about their inheritance and phenotypic effects from the application of 'classical' genetic studies alongside the more modern molecular, cellular and biochemical approaches. Of particular value has been the exploitation of chemical mutagens and 'antagonistic' mutants which directly affect the replication and/or transmission of yeast prions. In this Chapter we describe what has emerged from the application of classical and molecular genetic studies, to the most intensively studied of the three native yeast prions, the [PSI(+)] prion.

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