Mutations affecting donor preference during mating type interconversion in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

K. S. Weiler, L. Szeto, J. R. Broach

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27 Scopus citations


Homothallic strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae can convert mating type from a to α or α to a as often as every generation, by replacing genetic information specifying one mating type at the expressor locus, MAT, with information specifying the opposite mating type. The cryptic mating type information that is copied and inserted at MAT is contained in either of two loci, HML or HMR. The particular locus selected as donor during mating type interconversion is regulated by the allele expressed at MAT. MATa cells usually select HML, and MATα cells usually select HMR, a process referred to as donor preference. To identify factors required for donor preference, we isolated and characterized a number of mutants that frequently selected the nonpreferred donor locus during mating type interconversion. Many of these mutants were found to harbor chromosome rearrangements or mutations at MAT or HML that interfered with the switching process. However, one mutant carried a recessive allele of CHL1, a gene previously shown to be required for efficient chromosome segregation during mitosis. Homothallic strains of yeast containing a null allele of CHL1 exhibited almost random selection of the donor locus in a MATa background but were normal in their ability to select HMR in a MATα background. Our results indicate that Chl1p participates in the process of donor selection and are consistent with a model in which Chl1p helps establish an intrinsic bias in donor preference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1495-1510
Number of pages16
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics


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