We isolated a novel class of Schizosaccharomyces pombe cold-sensitive mutants with deformed nuclear chromosome domains consisting of thread- or rodlike condensed segments at restrictive temperature. Their mutations were mapped in a novel, identical locus designated crm1 (chromosomal region maintenance). The crm1 mutants also show the following phenotypes. DNA, RNA, and protein syntheses diminish at restrictive temperature. At permissive temperature, the amount of one particular protein, p25, greatly increases. The mutant growth is hypersensitive to Ca2+ and resistant to protein kinase inhibitors. We cloned the 4.1-kb-long crm1+ gene that rescued the above phenotypes by transformation and determined its nucleotide sequence, which predicts a 1,077-residue protein. Affinity-purified antiserum raised against the crm1+ polypeptide expressed in Escherichia coli detected a 115-kD protein in S. pombe extracts. Genomic Southern hybridization and immunoblotting suggested that the crm1+ product might be highly conserved in distant organisms. Through immunofluorescence microscopy, the crm1+ protein appeared to be principally localized within the nucleus and also at its periphery. We speculate that the crm1+ protein might be one of those nuclear components that modify the chromosome structures or regulate the nuclear environment required for maintaining higher order chromosome structures.

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