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J Theor Biol. 1986 Mar 21;119(2):197-204.

Copy number amplification of the 2 micron circle plasmid of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.


The 2 micron circle is a small double stranded DNA plasmid that occurs at about 60 copies per cell in the nuclei of virtually all strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The plasmid has no apparent phenotypic effect on host cells, and is the basis of many useful vectors for the transformation of yeast. Under certain circumstances, the plasmid is apparently able to replicate more than once per cell cycle; this over-replication allows the maintenance of the plasmid at high copy number. The plasmid has two inverted repeat sequences, and encodes a product that catalyses intra-molecular recombination between these two repeats. Models are proposed whereby recombination leads to copy number amplification. In particular, it is proposed that intra-molecular recombination during replication flips the orientation of one replication fork with respect to the other, so that both forks travel in the same direction around a circular monomer template, generating a large multimer from a monomer and a single initiation of replication.

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