The Holliday junction resolvase SpCCE1 prevents mitochondrial DNA aggregation in Schizosaccharomyces pombe.
Doe CL., Osman F., Dixon J., Whitby MC.
SpCCE1 (YDC2) from Schizosaccharomyces pombe is a DNA structure-specific endonuclease that resolves Holliday junctions in vitro. To investigate the in vivo function of SpCCE1 we made an Spcce1:ura4+ insertion mutant strain. This strain is viable and, despite being devoid of the Holliday junction resolvase activity that is readily detected in fractionated extracts from wild-type cells, exhibits normal levels of UV sensitivity and spontaneous or UV-induced mitotic recombination. In accordance with the absence of a nuclear phenotype, we show by fluorescence microscopy that a SpCCE1-GFP fusion localises exclusively to the mitochondria of S. pombe. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae the homologue of SpCCE1, CCE1, is known to function in the mitochondria where its role appears to be to remove recombination junctions and thus facilitate mitochondrial DNA segregation. A similar function can probably be attributed to SpCCE1 in S. pombe, since the majority of mitochondrial DNA from the Spcce1::ura4- strain is in an aggregated form apparently due to extensive interlinking of DNA molecules by recombination junctions. Surprisingly, this marked effect on the conformation of mitochondrial DNA results in little or no effect on proliferation or viability of the Spcce1::ura4+ strain. Possible explanations are discussed.