The effect of DNA replication mutations on CAG tract stability in yeast

Jill Kuglin Schweitzer, Dennis M. Livingston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


CAG repeat tracts are unstable in yeast, leading to frequent contractions and infrequent expansions in repeat tract length. To compare CAG repeats to other simple repeats and palindromic sequences, we examined the effect of DNA replication mutations, including alleles of pol α, pol δ, pol ε, and PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen), on tract stability. Among the polymerase mutations, the pol ε mutation (pol3-14) destabilizes tracts with either CAG or CTG as the lagging strand template. One pol α mutation, pol1-1, destabilizes the orientation with CAG as the lagging strand template, but it has little effect on the CTG orientation. In contrast, the pol1-17 mutation has no effect on either orientation. Similarly, mutations in the proofreading functions of pol δ and pol ε, as well as a temperature- sensitive pol ε mutation, pol2-18, have no effect on tract stability. Three PCNA mutations, pol30-52, pol30-79, and pol30-90, all have drastic effects on tract stability. Of the three, pol30-52 is unique in yielding small tract changes that are indicative of an impairment in mismatch repair. These results show that while CAG repeats are destabilized by many of the same mutations that destabilize other simple repeats, they also have some behaviors that are suggestive of their potential to form hairpin structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)953-963
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1999


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