Preferential recombination between GC clusters in yeast mitochondrial DNA.

C. L. Dieckmann, B. Gandy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Yeast mitochondrial DNA molecules have long, AT-rich intergenic spacers punctuated by short GC clusters. GC-rich elements have previously been characterized by others as preferred sites for intramolecular recombination leading to the formation of subgenomic petite molecules. In the present study we show that GC clusters are favored sites for intermolecular recombination between a petite and the wild-type grande genome. The petite studied retains 6.5 kb of mitochondrial DNA reiterated tandemly to form molecules consisting of repeated units. Genetic selection for integration of tandem 6.5 kb repeats of the petite into the grande genome yielded a novel recombination event. One of two crossovers in a double exchange event occurred as expected in the 6.5 kb of matching sequence between the genomes, whereas the second exchange involved a 44 bp GC cluster in the petite and another 44 bp GC cluster in the grande genome 700 bp proximal to the region of homology. Creation of a mitochondrial DNA molecule with a repetitive region led to secondary recombination events that generated a family of molecules with zero to several petite units. The finding that 44 bp GC clusters are preferred as sites for intermolecular exchange adds to the data on petite excision implicating these elements as recombinational hotspots in the yeast mitochondrial genome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4197-4203
Number of pages7
JournalThe EMBO journal
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 20 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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