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PLoS Genet. 2011 Mar;7(3):e1002015. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002015. Epub 2011 Mar 17.

Replicative age induces mitotic recombination in the ribosomal RNA gene cluster of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Abstract

Somatic mutations contribute to the development of age-associated disease. In earlier work, we found that, at high frequency, aging Saccharomyces cerevisiae diploid cells produce daughters without mitochondrial DNA, leading to loss of respiration competence and increased loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in the nuclear genome. Here we used the recently developed Mother Enrichment Program to ask whether aging cells that maintain the ability to produce respiration-competent daughters also experience increased genomic instability. We discovered that this population exhibits a distinct genomic instability phenotype that primarily affects the repeated ribosomal RNA gene array (rDNA array). As diploid cells passed their median replicative life span, recombination rates between rDNA arrays on homologous chromosomes progressively increased, resulting in mutational events that generated LOH at >300 contiguous open reading frames on the right arm of chromosome XII. We show that, while these recombination events were dependent on the replication fork block protein Fob1, the aging process that underlies this phenotype is Fob1-independent. Furthermore, we provide evidence that this aging process is not driven by mechanisms that modulate rDNA recombination in young cells, including loss of cohesion within the rDNA array or loss of Sir2 function. Instead, we suggest that the age-associated increase in rDNA recombination is a response to increasing DNA replication stress generated in aging cells.

PMID:
21436897
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3060066
Free PMC Article

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