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Genetics. 2002 Nov;162(3):1019-30.

Coordination of DNA ends during double-strand-break repair in bacteriophage T4.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


The extensive chromosome replication (ECR) model of double-strand-break repair (DSBR) proposes that each end of a double-strand break (DSB) is repaired independently by initiating extensive semiconservative DNA replication after strand invasion into homologous template DNA. In contrast, several other DSBR models propose that the two ends of a break are repaired in a coordinated manner using a single repair template with only limited DNA synthesis. We have developed plasmid and chromosomal recombinational repair assays to assess coordination of the broken ends during DSBR in bacteriophage T4. Results from the plasmid assay demonstrate that the two ends of a DSB can be repaired independently using homologous regions on two different plasmids and that extensive replication is triggered in the process. These findings are consistent with the ECR model of DSBR. However, results from the chromosomal assay imply that the two ends of a DSB utilize the same homologous repair template even when many potential templates are present, suggesting coordination of the broken ends during chromosomal repair. This result is consistent with several coordinated models of DSBR, including a modified version of the ECR model.

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