A whole genome screen for minisatellite stability genes in stationary-phase yeast cells

Bonnie Alver, Peter A. Jauert, Laura Brosnan, Melissa O'Hehir, Benjamin VanderSluis, Chad L. Myers, David T. Kirkpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Repetitive elements comprise a significant portion of most eukaryotic genomes. Minisatellites, a type of repetitive element composed of repeat units 152100 bp in length, are stable in actively dividing cells but change in composition during meiosis and in stationary-phase cells. Alterations within minisatellite tracts have been correlated with the onset of a variety of diseases, including diabetes mellitus, myoclonus epilepsy, and several types of cancer. However, little is known about the factors preventing minisatellite alterations. Previously, our laboratory developed a color segregation assay in which a minisatellite was inserted into the ADE2 gene in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to monitor alteration events. We demonstrated that minisatellite alterations that occur in stationary-phase cells give rise to a specific colony morphology phenotype known as blebbing. Here, we performed a modified version of the synthetic genetic array analysis to screen for mutants that produce a blebbing phenotype. Screens were conducted using two distinctly different minisatellite tracts: the ade2-min3 construct consisting of three identical 20-bp repeats, and the ade2-h7.5 construct, consisting of seven-and-a-half 28-bp variable repeats. Mutations in 102 and 157 genes affect the stability of the ade2-min3 and ade2-h7.5 alleles, respectively. Only seven hits overlapped both screens, indicating that different factors regulate repeat stability depending upon minisatellite size and composition. Importantly, we demonstrate that mismatch repair influences the stability of the ade2- h7.5 allele, indicating that this type of DNA repair stabilizes complex minisatellites in stationary phase cells. Our work provides insight into the factors regulating minisatellite stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-756
Number of pages16
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • DNA stability
  • Stationary phase


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