, Volume 260, Issue 2-3, pp 242-250

The MCM16 gene of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is required for chromosome segregation

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We have cloned and characterized the MCM16 gene required for the maintenance of minichromosomes in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This gene corresponds to a 181-amino acid ORF, YPR046W, on chromosome XVI. Mutant cells carrying minichromosomes accumulate them in higher copy numbers than do wild-type cells. Intact dicentric plasmid could be recovered from the mutant, in contrast to the wild-type, in which the plasmid suffered frequent deletions. A wild-type centromere, CEN6, acts as a block to the transcription of a reporter gene, such as β-galactosidase. This block was less effective in the mutant than in the wild-type strain, suggesting alterations in kinetochore assembly in the former. The mutant also showed increased sensitivity to the antimitotic drugs benomyl and thiabendazole. The mcm16 mutation caused a high rate of loss of chromosome III, without any significant increase in the recombination frequency. A strain carrying a deletion-disruption derivative of the MCM16 gene was viable and, when compared to the wild-type, did not show any significant changes in growth rate or cell morphology at 16, 23 and 37° C. These properties show that MCM16 is required for an important but non-essential role that governs the kinetochore-microtubule mediated process of chromosome segregation.

Received: 30 March 1998 / Accepted: 10 August 1998