Transcription of ribosomal genes can cause nondisjunction
Piccoli, Giacomo De
Carballo, Jesús A.
Cha, Rita S.
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Mitotic disjunction of the repetitive ribosomal DNA (rDNA) involves specialized segregation mechanisms dependent on the conserved phosphatase Cdc14. The reason behind this requirement is unknown. We show that rDNA segregation requires Cdc14 partly because of its physical length but most importantly because a fraction of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes are transcribed at very high rates. We show that cells cannot segregate rDNA without Cdc14 unless they undergo genetic rearrangements that reduce rDNA copy number. We then demonstrate that cells with normal length rDNA arrays can segregate rDNA in the absence of Cdc14 as long as rRNA genes are not transcribed. In addition, our study uncovers an unexpected role for the replication barrier protein Fob1 in rDNA segregation that is independent of Cdc14. These fi ndings demonstrate that highly transcribed loci can cause chromosome nondisjunction.