Zinc regulates the stability of repetitive minisatellite DNA tracts during stationary phase

Maire K. Kelly, Peter A. Jauert, Linnea E. Jensen, Christine L. Chan, Chinh S. Truong, David T. Kirkpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Repetitive minisatellite DNA tracts are stable in mitotic cells but unstable in meiosis, altering in repeat number and repeat composition. As relatively little is known about the factors that influence minisatellite stability, we isolated mutations that destabilize a minisatellite repeat tract in the ADE2 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. One mutant class exhibited a novel color segregation phenotype, "blebbing," characterized by minisatellite instability during stationary phase. Minisatellite tract alterations in blebbing strains consist exclusively of the loss of one 20-bp repeat. Timing experiments suggest that these tract alterations occur only after cells have entered stationary phase. Two complementation groups identified in this screen have mutations in either the high-affinity zinc transporter ZRT1 or its zinc-dependent transcriptional regulator ZAP1. The Δzrt1 mutant specifically affects the stability of minisatellite tracts; microsatellites or simple insertions in the ADE2 reading frame are not destabilized by loss of ZRT1. The Δzrt1 blebbing phenotype is partially dependent on a functional RAD50. Zinc is known for its role as an essential cofactor in many DNA-binding proteins. We describe possible models by which zinc can influence minisatellite stability. Our findings directly implicate zinc homeostasis in the maintenance of genomic stability during stationary phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2469-2479
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


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