, Volume 224, Issue 1, pp 119-128

A new family of polymorphic genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: α-galactosidase genes MEL1-MEL7

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Using genetic hybridization analysis we identified seven polymorphic genes for the fermentation of melibiose in different Mel+ strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Four laboratory strains (1453-3A, 303-49, N2, C.B.11) contained only the MEL1 gene and a wild strain (VKM Y-1830) had only the MEL2 gene. Another wild strain (CBS 4411) contained five genes: MEL3, MEL4, MEL5, MEL6 and MEL7. MEL3-MEL7 were isolated and identified by backcrosses with Mel parents (X2180-1A, S288C). A cloned MEL1 gene was used as a probe to investigate the physical structure and chromosomal location of the MEL gene family and to check the segregation of MEL genes from CBS 4411 in six complete tetrads. Restriction and Southern hybridization analyses showed that all seven genes are physically very similar. By electrokaryotyping we found that all seven genes are located on different chromosomes MEL1 on chromosome II as shown previously by Vollrath et al. (1988), MEL2 on VII, MEL3 on XVI, MEL4 on XI, MEL5 on IV, MEL6 on XIII, and MEL7 on VI. Molecular analysis of the segregation of MEL genes from strain CBS 4411 gave results identical to those from the genetic analyses. The homology in the physical structure of this MEL gene family suggests that the MEL loci have evolved by transposition of an ancestral gene to specific locations within the genome.

Communicated by C.P. Hollenberg