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Yeast. 1997 Nov;13(14):1329-35.

Measurement of nuclear DNA content in fission yeast by flow cytometry.

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Department of Biophysics, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo, Norway.


Cell division cycle (cdc) mutants of Schizosaccharomyces pombe are arrested at specific points in the cell cycle when grown at restrictive temperature. Flow cytometry of such cells reveals an anomalous increase in the DNA fluorescence signal, which represents a problem in experiments designed to determine the cell cycle arrest point. The increased fluorescence signal is due to cytoplasmic constituents and has been attributed to mitochondrial DNA synthesis (S. Sazer and S. W. Sherwood, J. Cell Sci. 97: 509-516, 1990). Here we have studied the cdc10 mutant by flow cytometry using different DNA-binding fluorochromes and found no evidence that the increased fluorescence signal was caused by mitochondrial DNA synthesis. To determine more accurately the nuclear DNA content we have developed a novel method to remove most of the cytoplasmic material by exposing the cells to Triton X-100 and hypotonic conditions after cell wall digestion. The DNA fluorescence from cells treated in this way was more constant with time of incubation at restrictive temperature in spite of a considerable increase in cell size. With this method we could determine that the recently isolated temperature sensitive orp1 mutant is arrested with a 1C DNA content. Premature and abnormal mitosis ('cut') could be observed for the orp1 mutant after only 4 h at restrictive temperature.

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