We describe here a new method for the specific isolation of cytochrome c oxidase-deficient mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. One unique feature of the method is the use of tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine as a cytochrome c oxidase activity stain for yeast colonies. The staining of yeast colonies by tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine is dependent upon a functional cytochrome c oxidase and is unaffected by other lesions in respiration. Since the tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine colony staining reaction is rapid and simple, it greatly facilitates both the identification and characterization of cytochrome c oxidase-deficient mutants. Another feature of the method, which is made possible by the tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine colony stain, is the use of an op1 parent strain for the isolation of nuclear pet or mitochondrial mit mutants in specific protein-coding genes. A parent strain that carries this marker selects against rho0 or rho- classes of pleiotropic respiratory-deficient mutants, since these are lethal in op1 strains. We have used this method to isolate 123 independently derived cytochrome c oxidase-deficient pet mutants and 300 independently derived mit mutants
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