The sister chromatid cohesion pathway suppresses multiple chromosome gain and chromosome amplification.

Shay Covo*, Christopher M. Puccia, Juan Lucas Argueso, Dmitry A. Gordenin, Michael A. Resnick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Gain or loss of chromosomes resulting in aneuploidy can be important factors in cancer and adaptive evolution. Although chromosome gain is a frequent event in eukaryotes, there is limited information on its genetic control. Here we measured the rates of chromosome gain in wild-type yeast and sister chromatid cohesion (SCC) compromised strains. SCC tethers the newly replicated chromatids until anaphase via the cohesin complex. Chromosome gain was measured by selecting and characterizing copper-resistant colonies that emerged due to increased copies of the metallothionein gene CUP1. Although all defective SCC diploid strains exhibited increased rates of chromosome gain, there were 15-fold differences between them. Of all mutants examined, a hypomorphic mutation at the cohesin complex caused the highest rate of chromosome gain while disruption of WPL1, an important regulator of SCC and chromosome condensation, resulted in the smallest increase in chromosome gain. In addition to defects in SCC, yeast cell type contributed significantly to chromosome gain, with the greatest rates observed for homozygous mating-type diploids, followed by heterozygous mating type, and smallest in haploids. In fact, wpl1-deficient haploids did not show any difference in chromosome gain rates compared to wild-type haploids. Genomic analysis of copper-resistant colonies revealed that the "driver" chromosome for which selection was applied could be amplified to over five copies per diploid cell. In addition, an increase in the expected driver chromosome was often accompanied by a gain of a small number of other chromosomes. We suggest that while chromosome gain due to SCC malfunction can have negative effects through gene imbalance, it could also facilitate opportunities for adaptive changes. In multicellular organisms, both factors could lead to somatic diseases including cancer.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)373-384
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


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