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EMBO J. 1985 Dec 16;4(13A):3525-30.

A PIF-dependent recombinogenic signal in the mitochondrial DNA of yeast.

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Université de Louvain, Laboratoire d'Enzymologie, Place Croix du Sud, 1, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.


From their recombination properties, tandem rho mutants of the mitochondrial genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae were divided into two categories. In crosses between PIF-independent rho and rho strains, the recombination frequency is low and similar in PIF/pif and pif/pif diploids. In crosses between PIF-dependent rho and rho strains, the recombination frequency is stimulated 10-50 times in PIF/pif diploids and is drastically decreased in pif/pif diploids. These results suggest that a recombinogenic signal is present in the mitochondrial (mt) DNA of PIF-dependent rho clones. This signal is not recognized in pif mutants. Sequence analysis of a series of small (<300 bp) overlapping tandem rho genomes located in the ery region of the 21S rRNA gene led us to identify an essential element of this signal within a 41-bp A+T sequence exhibiting over 26 bp a perfect dyad symmetry. However the recombinogenic signal is not sequence-specific since the sequence described above does not characterize PIF-dependent rho clones located in the oli1 region. Our results rather suggest that the recombinogenic signal is related to the topology of rho DNA. Denaturated sites in the double helix or cruciform structures elicited by local negative supercoiling might be preferred sites of the initiation of recombination.


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