The smp2 mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae shows increased stability of the heterologous plasmid pSR1 and YRp plasmids. A DNA fragment bearing the SMP2 gene was cloned by its ability to complement the slow growth of the smp2 smp3 double mutant (smp3 is another mutation conferring increased stability of plasmid pSR1). The nucleotide sequence of SMP2 indicated that it encodes a highly charged 95 kDa protein. Disruption of the genomic SMP2 gene resulted in a respiration-deficient phenotype, although the cells retained mitochondrial DNA, and showed increased stability of pSR1 like the original smp2 mutant. The fact that the smp2 mutant is not always respiration deficient and shows increased pSR1 stability even in a rho0 strain lacking mitochondrial DNA suggested that the function of the Smp2 protein in plasmid maintenance is independent of respiration. The SMP2 locus was mapped at a site 71 cM from lys7 and 21 cM from ilv2/SMR1 on the right arm of chromosome XIII.
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