Mating Type Switching in Yeast Controlled by Asymmetric Localization of ASH1 mRNA

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Science  18 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5324, pp. 383-387
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5324.383

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Cell divisions that produce progeny differing in their patterns of gene expression are key to the development of multicellular organisms. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, mother cells but not daughter cells can switch mating type because they selectively express the HO endonuclease gene. This asymmetry is due to the preferential accumulation of an unstable transcriptional repressor protein, Ash1p, in daughter cell nuclei. Here it is shown thatASH1 messenger RNA (mRNA) preferentially accumulates in daughter cells by a process that is dependent on actin and myosin. A cis-acting element in the 3′-untranslated region of ASH1mRNA is sufficient to localize a chimeric RNA to daughter cells. These results suggest that localization of mRNA may have been an early property of the eukaryotic lineage.

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