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We have performed a genetic and biochemical analysis of the SPO12 gene, which regulates meiotic nuclear divisions in budding yeast. When sporulated, spo12 mutants undergo a single meiotic nuclear division most closely resembling meiosis II. We observed that Spo12 protein is localized to the nucleus during both meiotic divisions and that Clb1-Cdc28, Clb3-Cdc28, Clb4-Cdc28, and Clb5-Cdc28 kinase activities during meiosis were not affected by a spo12 mutation. Using two-hybrid analysis, we identified several genes, three of which are meiotically induced, that may code for proteins that interact with Spo12p. We also observed that two genes, BNS1 (Bypasses Need for Spo12p), which has homology to SPO12, and SPO13, whose mutant phenotype is like that of spo12, can partially suppress the meiotic defect of spo12 mutants when overexpressed. We found that Spo12p is also localized to the nucleus in vegetative cells and that its level peaks during G2/M. We observed that a spo12 mutation is synthetically lethal in vegetative cells with a mutation in HCT1, a gene necessary for cells to exit mitosis, suggesting that Spo12p may have a role in exit from mitosis.
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