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Genetics. 1993 May;134(1):63-80.

Cell cycle arrest of cdc mutants and specificity of the RAD9 checkpoint.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


In eucaryotes a cell cycle control called a checkpoint ensures that mitosis occurs only after chromosomes are completely replicated and any damage is repaired. The function of this checkpoint in budding yeast requires the RAD9 gene. Here we examine the role of the RAD9 gene in the arrest of the 12 cell division cycle (cdc) mutants, temperature-sensitive lethal mutants that arrest in specific phases of the cell cycle at a restrictive temperature. We found that in four cdc mutants the cdc rad9 cells failed to arrest after a shift to the restrictive temperature, rather they continued cell division and died rapidly, whereas the cdc RAD cells arrested and remained viable. The cell cycle and genetic phenotypes of the 12 cdc RAD mutants indicate the function of the RAD9 checkpoint is phase-specific and signal-specific. First, the four cdc RAD mutants that required RAD9 each arrested in the late S/G2 phase after a shift to the restrictive temperature when DNA replication was complete or nearly complete, and second, each leaves DNA lesions when the CDC gene product is limiting for cell division. Three of the four CDC genes are known to encode DNA replication enzymes. We found that the RAD17 gene is also essential for the function of the RAD9 checkpoint because it is required for phase-specific arrest of the same four cdc mutants. We also show that both X- or UV-irradiated cells require the RAD9 and RAD17 genes for delay in the G2 phase. Together, these results indicate that the RAD9 checkpoint is apparently activated only by DNA lesions and arrests cell division only in the late S/G2 phase.

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