Each of at least five unlinked MAL loci (MAL1 through MAL4 and MAL6) on the yeast genome controls the ability to synthesize an inducible α-D-glucosidase (maltase). A subcloned fragment of the coding sequence of the MAL6 maltase structural gene was used as a hybridization probe to investigate the physical structure of the family of MAL structural genes in the genomes of different Saccharomyces strains. Mal+ strains, each carrying a genetically defined MAL locus, were crossed with a Mal- strain and the segregation behavior of the functional locus and of sequences complementary to the maltase structural gene at that locus analyzed. The maltase structural gene sequences of each MAL locus were detected by Southern blot hybridization using BamH1 digests of genomic DNA of the meiotic products. This restriction enzyme was previously shown to cleave outside the confines of the MAL6 locus.
The results of such experiments indicate that each MAL locus encompasses at least one maltase structural gene sequence homologous to that of MAL6, that yeast strains that lack functional MAL loci may or may not contain the corresponding maltase structural gene sequence, that the MAL1 maltase structural gene sequence or one of its alleles can be detected in all laboratory yeast strains examined and that each MAL locus can be identified as a characteristic BamH1 fragment of genomic DNA which includes a maltase structural gene.
Yeast strains vary in the number of maltase structural gene sequences that they carry. By using the approach described in this report, the ones corresponding to the different functional MAL loci and residing within a BamH1 generated restriction fragment can be identified.