Schizosaccharomyces pombe Switches Mating Type by the Synthesis-Dependent Strand-Annealing Mechanism
Tomoko Yamada-Inagawa, Amar J. S. Klar, Jacob Z. Dalgaard


Schizosaccharomyces pombe cells can switch between two mating types, plus (P) and minus (M). The change in cell type occurs due to a replication-coupled recombination event that transfers genetic information from one of the silent-donor loci, mat2P or mat3M, into the expressed mating-type determining mat1 locus. The mat1 locus can as a consequence contain DNA encoding either P or M information. A molecular mechanism, known as synthesis-dependent strand annealing, has been proposed for the underlying recombination event. A key feature of this model is that only one DNA strand of the donor locus provides the information that is copied into the mat1. Here we test the model by constructing strains that switch using two different mutant P cassettes introduced at the donor loci, mat2 and mat3. We show that in such strains wild-type P-cassette DNA is efficiently generated at mat1 through heteroduplex DNA formation and repair. The present data provide an in vivo genetic test of the proposed molecular recombination mechanism.


  • Communicating editor: B. J. Andrews

  • Received May 24, 2007.
  • Accepted July 10, 2007.
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