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PLoS One. 2009 Jul 28;4(7):e6389. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006389.

Stabilization of dicentric translocations through secondary rearrangements mediated by multiple mechanisms in S. cerevisiae.

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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Department of Medicine, and Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, California, United States of America.



The gross chromosomal rearrangements (GCRs) observed in S. cerevisiae mutants with increased rates of accumulating GCRs include predicted dicentric GCRs such as translocations, chromosome fusions and isoduplications. These GCRs resemble the genome rearrangements found as mutations underlying inherited diseases as well as in the karyotypes of many cancers exhibiting ongoing genome instability


The structures of predicted dicentric GCRs were analyzed using multiple strategies including array-comparative genomic hybridization, pulse field gel electrophoresis, PCR amplification of predicted breakpoints and sequencing. The dicentric GCRs were found to be unstable and to have undergone secondary rearrangements to produce stable monocentric GCRs. The types of secondary rearrangements observed included: non-homologous end joining (NHEJ)-dependent intramolecular deletion of centromeres; chromosome breakage followed by NHEJ-mediated circularization or broken-end fusion to another chromosome telomere; and homologous recombination (HR)-dependent non-reciprocal translocations apparently mediated by break-induced replication. A number of these GCRs appeared to have undergone multiple bridge-fusion-breakage cycles. We also observed examples of chromosomes with extensive ongoing end decay in mec1 tlc1 mutants, suggesting that Mec1 protects chromosome ends from degradation and contributes to telomere maintenance by HR.


HR between repeated sequences resulting in secondary rearrangements was the most prevalent pathway for resolution of dicentric GCRs regardless of the structure of the initial dicentric GCR, although at least three other resolution mechanisms were observed. The resolution of dicentric GCRs to stable rearranged chromosomes could in part account for the complex karyotypes seen in some cancers.

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