The SUC genes (SUC1-SUC7) of Saccharomyces are a family of genes that are dispersed in the yeast genome. A SUC+ allele at any locus confers the ability to produce the enzyme invertase and, thus, to ferment sucrose. Most yeast strains do not carry SUC+ alleles at all possible SUC loci. We have investigated the naturally occurring negative (suc0) alleles present at SUC loci with the aim of distinguishing between two possible models for the structure of suc0 alleles: (1) suc0 alleles correspond to a simple absence of SUC genetic information; (2) suc0 alleles are "silent" SUC genes that either produce a defective product or are not expressed. To facilitate these studies, sucrose-nonfermenting strains were constructed that are congenic to S. cerevisiae strain S288C (SUC2+), but carry at the SUC2 locus the naturally occurring negative allele, suc20, of strain FL100 (Lacroute 1968). These strains were used to study the genetic properties of the suc20 allele of FL100 and the suc0 alleles (suc10, suc30, etc.) of S288C. The suc20 allele was shown to revert to an active Suc+ state and to provide functional information at three points in the SUC2 gene in recombination experiments; this suc20 gene thus appears to be a "silent" gene. Similar tests for silent SUC genes in S288C (corresponding to loci other than SUC2) failed to reveal any additional silent genes.

  • Received December 17, 1980.