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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 10;8(7):e68094. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068094. Print 2013.

Characterization of chromosome stability in diploid, polyploid and hybrid yeast cells.

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Molecular Cell Biology, Taiwan International Graduate Program, Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, and Graduate Institute of Life Sciences, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan.


Chromosome instability is a key component of cancer progression and many heritable diseases. Understanding why some chromosomes are more unstable than others could provide insight into understanding genome integrity. Here we systematically investigate the spontaneous chromosome loss for all sixteen chromosomes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae in order to elucidate the mechanisms underlying chromosome instability. We observed that the stability of different chromosomes varied more than 100-fold. Consistent with previous studies on artificial chromosomes, chromosome loss frequency was negatively correlated to chromosome length in S. cerevisiae diploids, triploids and S. cerevisiae-S. bayanus hybrids. Chromosome III, an equivalent of sex chromosomes in budding yeast, was found to be the most unstable chromosome among all cases examined. Moreover, similar instability was observed in chromosome III of S. bayanus, a species that diverged from S. cerevisiae about 20 million years ago, suggesting that the instability is caused by a conserved mechanism. Chromosome III was found to have a highly relaxed spindle checkpoint response in the genome. Using a plasmid stability assay, we found that differences in the centromeric sequence may explain certain aspects of chromosome instability. Our results reveal that even under normal conditions, individual chromosomes in a genome are subject to different levels of pressure in chromosome loss (or gain).

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