Separation of Origin Recognition Complex Functions by Cross-Species Complementation

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Science  08 Dec 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5242, pp. 1671-1674
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5242.1671


Transcriptional silencing at the HMRa locus of Saccharomyces cerevisiae requires the function of the origin recognition complex (ORC), the replication initiator of yeast. Expression of a Drosophila melanogaster Orc2 complementary DNA in the yeast orc2-1 strain, which is defective for replication and silencing, complemented the silencing defect but not the replication defect; this result indicated that the replication and silencing functions of ORC were separable. The orc2-1 mutation mapped to the region of greatest homology between the Drosophila and yeast proteins. The silent state mediated by DmOrc2 was epigenetic; it was propagated during mitotic divisions in a relatively stable way, whereas the nonsilent state was metastable. In contrast, the silent state was erased during meiosis.