Mutations at the human minisatellite MS32 integrated in yeast occur with high frequency in meiosis and involve complex recombination events

Mol Gen Genet. 1997 Sep;256(1):7-17. doi: 10.1007/s004380050540.


Minisatellites are composed of tandem repetitive DNA sequences and are present at many positions in the human genome. They frequently mutate to new length alleles in the germline, by complex and incompletely understood recombination mechanisms which may operate during meiosis. In several minisatellites the mutation events are restricted to one end of the repeat array, indicating a possible association with elements that act in cis. Mutant alleles do not show exchange of flanking regions. To construct a model system suitable for further investigations of the mutation process, we have integrated the human minisatellite MS32, flanked by synthetic markers, in the vicinity of a meiotic recombination hot spot upstream of the LEU2 locus in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here we provide direct evidence for a meiotic origin of MS32 mutations. Mutation events were polarised towards both ends of the minisatellite and varied from simple duplications and deletions to complex intra- and interallelic events. Interallelic events were frequently accompanied by exchange of regions flanking the minisatellite. The results also support the notion that cis-acting elements are involved in the mutational process. The fact that MS32 mutant structures are similar in yeast and human shows that meiotic recombination plays a crucial role in both organisms and emphasises the usefulness of yeast strains harbouring minisatellites as a model system for the study of minisatellite mutation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Chromosomes, Fungal / genetics
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Humans
  • Meiosis*
  • Minisatellite Repeats / genetics*
  • Mitosis
  • Mutation*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Recombination, Genetic* / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Transformation, Genetic