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Genetics. 1999 Oct;153(2):705-14.

Action of repeat-induced point mutation on both strands of a duplex and on tandem duplications of various sizes in Neurospora.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


In Neurospora crassa, DNA sequence duplications are detected and altered efficiently during the sexual cycle by a process known as RIP (repeat-induced point mutation). Affected sequences are subjected to multiple GC-to-AT mutations. To explore the pattern in which base changes are laid down by RIP we examined two sets of strains. First, we examined the products of a presumptive spontaneous RIP event at the mtr locus. Results of sequencing suggested that a single RIP event produces two distinct patterns of change, descended from the two strands of an affected DNA duplex. Equivalent results were obtained using an exceptional tetrad from a cross with a known duplication flanking the zeta-eta (zeta-eta) locus. The mtr sequence data were also used to further examine the basis for the differential severity of C-to-T mutations on the coding and noncoding strands in genes. The known bias of RIP toward CpA/TpG sites in conjunction with the sequence bias of Neurospora accounts for the differential effect. Finally, we used a collection of tandem repeats (from 16 to 935 bp in length) within the mtr gene to examine the length requirement for RIP. No evidence of RIP was found with duplications shorter than 400 bp while all longer tandem duplications were frequently affected. A comparison of these results with vegetative reversion data for the same duplications is consistent with the idea that reversion of long tandem duplications and RIP share a common step.

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