Evidence that an endo-exonuclease controlled by the NUC2 gene functions in the induction of 'petite' mutations in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Curr Genet. 1991 Jul;20(1-2):39-44. doi: 10.1007/BF00312763.


Defects in the RAD52 gene of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae reduce the levels of the NUC2 endo-exonuclease by approximately 90% compared to the levels in wild-type strains. To examine the potential role of this nuclease in the induction of mitochondrial 'petite' mutations, congenic RAD52 and rad52-1 haploids were subjected to treatment with ethidium bromide, a well-known inducer of these mutations. The rad52 strain showed a much higher resistance to ethidium bromide-induced petite formation than the corresponding wild-type strain. Two approaches were taken to confirm that this finding reflected the nuclease deficiency, and not some other effect attributable to the rad52-1 mutation. First, a multicopy plasmid (YEp213-10) carrying NUC2 was transformed into a RAD52 strain. This resulted in an increased fraction of spontaneous petite mutations relative to that seen for the same strain without the plasmid and sensitized the strain carrying the plasmid to petite induction by ethidium bromide treatment. Second, a strain having a nuc2 allele that encodes a temperature-sensitive nuclease was treated with ethidium bromide at the restrictive and permissive temperatures. Petite induction was reduced under restrictive conditions. Enzyme assays revealed that the RAD52 (YEp213-10) strain had the highest level of antibody-precipitable NUC2 endo-exonuclease whereas the nuc2 and rad52 mutants had the lowest levels. Furthermore, addition of ethidium bromide to the reaction mixture stimulated the activity of the nuclease on double-stranded DNA. Petite induction by antifolate-mediated thymine nucleotide depletion was also inhibited by inactivation of RAD52 indicating that the effect of reduced NUC2 endo-exonuclease was not restricted to ethidium bromide treatment.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Endonucleases / genetics*
  • Endonucleases / metabolism
  • Ethidium / pharmacology
  • Exonucleases / genetics*
  • Exonucleases / metabolism
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Mutation*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / drug effects
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Temperature


  • Endonucleases
  • Exonucleases
  • endoexonuclease
  • Ethidium