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EMBO J. 1995 Dec 15;14(24):6348-57.

Genetic analysis of an ARS element from the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


ARS (autonomously replicating sequence) elements are DNA fragments that can function as origins of DNA replication in yeast. We report the first fine-structure analysis of ars1, an ARS element of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Characterization of a series of nested deletion mutations indicated that the minimal fragment of DNA encompassing ars1 is surprisingly large. No fragment < 650 bp retained significant ARS activity. Analysis of deletion and substitution mutations scanning the entire minimal ars1 identified a single essential 50 bp fragment (segment 1). Only one other 50 bp mutation reduced activity as much as 5-fold and most deletions were without effect. Thus, the minimal ars1 is composed of two general types of genetic elements, a small segment that is absolutely required for efficient ARS activity and a much larger region that is tolerant of internal structural alterations. Higher resolution analysis of segment 1 defined a critical 30 bp A/T-rich segment which appears to contain redundant genetic elements. Schizosaccharomyces pombe ars1 promoted high frequency transformation in the budding yeast S.cerevisiae but this heterologous activity was not dependent on segment 1. Our analysis indicates that the functional elements required for ARS function in S.pombe and S.cerevisiae are clearly different.

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