The 2 micron plasmid: a selfish genetic element with an optimized survival strategy within Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Abstract

Since its discovery in the early 70s, the 2 micron plasmid of Saccharomyces cerevisiae continues to intrigue researchers with its high protein-coding capacity and a selfish nature yet high stability, earning it the title of a ‘miniaturized selfish genetic element’. It codes for four proteins (Rep1, Rep2, Raf1, and Flp) vital for its own survival and recruits several host factors (RSC2, Cohesin, Cse4, Kip1, Bik1, Bim1, and microtubules) for its faithful segregation during cell division. The plasmid maintains a high-copy number with the help of Flp-mediated recombination. The plasmids organize in the form of clusters that hitch-hike the host chromosomes presumably with the help of the plasmid-encoded Rep proteins and host factors such as microtubules, Kip1 motor, and microtubule-associated proteins Bik1 and Bim1. Although there is no known yeast cell phenotype associated with the 2 micron plasmid, excessive copies of the plasmid are lethal for the cells, warranting a tight control over the plasmid copy number. This control is achieved through a combination of feedback loops involving the 2 micron encoded proteins. Thus, faithful segregation and a concomitant tightly controlled plasmid copy number ensure an optimized benign parasitism of the 2 micron plasmid within budding yeast.

DOI: 10.1007/s00294-017-0719-2

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Cite this paper

@article{Rizvi2017The2M, title={The 2 micron plasmid: a selfish genetic element with an optimized survival strategy within Saccharomyces cerevisiae}, author={Syed M. A. J. Rizvi and Hemant Kumar Prajapati and Santanu Kumar Ghosh}, journal={Current Genetics}, year={2017}, pages={1-18} }