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Mol Cell Biol. 1997 May;17(5):2851-8.

Microsatellite instability in yeast: dependence on repeat unit size and DNA mismatch repair genes.

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Department of Biology and Curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-3280, USA.


We examined the stability of microsatellites of different repeat unit lengths in Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains deficient in DNA mismatch repair. The msh2 and msh3 mutations destabilized microsatellites with repeat units of 1, 2, 4, 5, and 8 bp; a poly(G) tract of 18 bp was destabilized several thousand-fold by the msh2 mutation and about 100-fold by msh3. The msh6 mutations destabilized microsatellites with repeat units of 1 and 2 bp but had no effect on microsatellites with larger repeats. These results argue that coding sequences containing repetitive DNA tracts will be preferred target sites for mutations in human tumors with mismatch repair defects. We find that the DNA mismatch repair genes destabilize microsatellites with repeat units from 1 to 13 bp but have no effect on the stability of minisatellites with repeat units of 16 or 20 bp. Our data also suggest that displaced loops on the nascent strand, resulting from DNA polymerase slippage, are repaired differently than loops on the template strand.

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