Donor locus selection during Saccharomyces cerevisiae mating type interconversion responds to distant regulatory signals

K. S. Weiler, James Broach

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28 Scopus citations


Mating type interconversion in homothallic strains of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae results from directed transposition of a mating type allele from one of the two silent donor loci, HML and HMR, to the expressing locus, MAT. Cell type regulates the selection of the particular donor locus to be utilized during mating type interconversion: MATa cells preferentially select HMLα and MATα cells preferentially select HMRa. Such preferential selection indicates that the cell is able to distinguish between HML and HMR during mating type interconversion. Accordingly, we designed experiments to identify those features perceived by the cell to discriminate HML and HMR. We demonstrate that discrimination does not derive from the different structures of the HML and HMR loci, from the unique sequences flanking each donor locus nor from any of the DNA distal to the HM loci on chromosome III. Moreover, we find that the sequences flanking the MAT locus do not function in the preferential selection of one donor locus over the other. We propose that the positions of the donor loci on the left and right arms of chromosome III is the characteristic utilized by the cell to distinguish HML and HMR. This positional information is not generated by either CEN3 or the MAT locus, but probably derives from differences in the chromatin structure, chromosome folding or intranuclear localization of the two ends of chromosome III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-942
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1992


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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