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Mol Cell Biol. Feb 1992; 12(2): 563–575.
PMCID: PMC364230

Characterization of double-strand break-induced recombination: homology requirements and single-stranded DNA formation.


In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a double-strand chromosome break created by the HO endonuclease is frequently repaired in mitotically growing cells by recombination between flanking homologous regions, producing a deletion. We showed that single-stranded regions were formed on both sides of the double-strand break prior to the formation of the product. The kinetics of the single-stranded DNA were monitored in strains with the recombination-deficient mutations rad52 and rad50 as well as in the wild-type strain. In rad50 mutants, single-stranded DNA was generated at a slower rate than in the wild type, whereas rad52 mutants generated single-stranded DNA at a faster rate. Product formation was largely blocked in the rad52 mutant. In the rad50 rad52 double mutant, the effects were superimposed in that the exonucleolytic activity was slowed but product formation was blocked. rad50 appears to act before or at the same stage as rad52. We constructed strains containing two ura3 segments on one side of the HO cut site and one ura3 region on the other side to characterize how flanking repeats find each other. Deletions formed preterentially between the homologous regions closest to the double-strand break. By varying the size of the middle ura3 segment, we determined that recombination initiated by a double-strand break requires a minimum homologous length between 63 and 89 bp. In these competition experiments, the frequency of recombination was dependent on the length of homology in an approximately linear manner.

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