Replication of each copy of the yeast 2 micron DNA plasmid occurs during the S phase

Virginia A. Zakian, Bonita J. Brewer, Walton L. Fangman

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131 Scopus citations


Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains 50-100 copies per cell of a circular plasmid called 2 micron DNA. Replication of this DNA was studied in two ways. The distribution of replication events among 2 micron DNA molecules was examined by density transfer experiments with asynchronous cultures. The data show that 2 micron DNA replication is similar to chromosomal DNA replication: essentially all 2 micron duplexes were of hybrid density at one cell doubling after the density transfer, with the majority having one fully dense strand and one fully light strand. The results show that replication of 2 micron DNA occurs by a semiconservative mechanism where each of the plasmid molecules replicates once each cell cycle. 2 micron DNA is the only known example of a multiple-copy, extrachromosomal DNA in which every molecule replicates in each cell cycle. Quantitative analysis of the data indicates that 2 micron DNA replication is limited to a fraction of the cell cycle. The period in the cell cycle when 2 micron DNA replicates was examined directly with synchronous cell cultures. Synchronization was accomplished by sequentially arresting cells in G1 phase using the yeast pheromone α-factor and incubating at the restrictive temperature for a cell cycle (cdc 7) mutant. Replication was monitored by adding 3H-uracil to cells previously labeled with 14C-uracil, and determining the 3H 14C ratio for purified DNA species. 2 micron DNA replication did not occur during the G1 arrest periods. However, the population of 2 micron DNA doubled during the synchronous S phase at the permissive temperature, with most of the replication occurring in the first third of S phase. Our results indicate that a mechanism exists which insures that the origin of replication of each 2 micron DNA molecule is activated each S phase. As with chromosomal DNA, further activation is prevented until the next cell cycle. We propose that the mechanism which controls the replication initiation of each 2 micron DNA molecule is identical to that which controls the initiation of chromosomal DNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-934
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1979

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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