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Yeast Prions [URE3] and [PSI+] Are Diseases

Toru Nakayashiki, Cletus P. Kurtzman, Herman K. Edskes and Reed B. Wickner
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 102, No. 30 (Jul. 26, 2005), pp. 10575-10580
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3376125
Page Count: 6
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Yeast Prions [URE3] and [PSI+] Are Diseases
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Abstract

Viruses, plasmids, and prions can spread in nature despite being a burden to their hosts. Because a prion arises de novo in more than one in 106 yeast cells and spreads to all offspring in meiosis, its absence in wild strains would imply that it has a net deleterious effect on its host. Among 70 wild Saccharomyces strains, we found the [PIN+] prion in 11 strains, but the [URE3] and [PSI+] prions were uniformly absent. In contrast, the "selfish" 2μ DNA was in 38 wild strains and the selfish RNA replicons L-BC, 20S, and 23S were found in 8, 14, and 1 strains, respectively. The absence of [URE3] and [PSI+] in wild strains indicates that each prion has a net deleterious effect on its host.

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