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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Feb 16;96(4):1504-9.

Triplet repeats form secondary structures that escape DNA repair in yeast.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280, USA.


Several human neurodegenerative diseases result from expansion of CTG/CAG or CGG/CCG triplet repeats. The finding that single-stranded CNG repeats form hairpin-like structures in vitro has led to the hypothesis that DNA secondary structure formation is an important component of the expansion mechanism. We show that single-stranded DNA loops containing 10 CTG/CAG or CGG/CCG repeats are inefficiently repaired during meiotic recombination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Comparisons of the repair of DNA loops with palindromic and nonpalindromic sequences suggest that this inefficient repair reflects the ability of these sequences to form hairpin structures in vivo.

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