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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Nov 7;103(45):16840-5. Epub 2006 Oct 30.

Template disruptions and failure of double Holliday junction dissolution during double-strand break repair in Drosophila BLM mutants.

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  • 1Genetics Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Previous biochemical studies of the BLM gene product have shown its ability in conjunction with topoisomerase IIIalpha to resolve double Holliday structures through a process called "dissolution." This process could prevent crossing over during repair of double-strand breaks. We report an analysis of the Drosophila BLM gene, DmBlm, in the repair of double-strand breaks in the premeiotic germ line of Drosophila males. With a repair reporter construct, Rr3, and other genetic tools, we show that DmBlm mutants are defective for homologous repair but show a compensating increase in single-strand annealing. Increases of 40- to 50-fold in crossing over and flanking deletions also were seen. Perhaps most significantly, the template used for homologous repair in DmBlm mutants is itself subject to deletions and complex rearrangements. These template disruptions are indicative of failure to resolve double Holliday junctions. These findings, along with the demonstration that a weak allele of topoisomerase IIIalpha has some of the same defects as DmBlm, support the dissolution model. Finally, an analysis of DmBlm mutants in conjunction with mus81 or spnA (Rad51) reveals a second function of BLM distinct from the repair of induced double-strand breaks and possibly related to maintenance of replication forks.

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