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Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Oct;26(20):7645-57. Epub 2006 Aug 14.

Conservative repair of a chromosomal double-strand break by single-strand DNA through two steps of annealing.

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  • 1Head Chromosome Stability Section, Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.


The repair of chromosomal double-strand breaks (DSBs) is essential to normal cell growth, and homologous recombination is a universal process for DSB repair. We explored DSB repair mechanisms in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae using single-strand oligonucleotides with homology to both sides of a DSB. Oligonucleotide-directed repair occurred exclusively via Rad52- and Rad59-mediated single-strand annealing (SSA). Even the SSA domain of human Rad52 provided partial complementation for a null rad52 mutation. The repair did not involve Rad51-driven strand invasion, and moreover the suppression of strand invasion increased repair with oligonucleotides. A DSB was shown to activate targeting by oligonucleotides homologous to only one side of the break at large distances (at least 20 kb) from the break in a strand-biased manner, suggesting extensive 5' to 3' resection, followed by the restoration of resected DNA to the double-strand state. We conclude that long resected chromosomal DSB ends are repaired by a single-strand DNA oligonucleotide through two rounds of annealing. The repair by single-strand DNA can be conservative and may allow for accurate restoration of chromosomal DNAs with closely spaced DSBs.

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