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Mutat Res. 2000 Oct 16;461(2):119-32.

Transcriptional effects on double-strand break-induced gene conversion tracts.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Harvard University, School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Transcription stimulates spontaneous homologous recombination, but prior studies have not investigated the effects of transcription on double-strand break (DSB)-induced recombination in yeast. We examined products of five ura3 direct repeat substrates in yeast using alleles that were transcribed at low or high levels. In each strain, recombination was stimulated by DSBs created in vivo at an HO site in one copy of ura3. Increasing transcription levels in donor or recipient alleles did not further stimulate DSB-induced recombination, nor did it alter the relative frequencies of conversion and deletion (pop-out) events. This result is consistent with the idea that transcription enhances spontaneous recombination by increasing initiation. Gene conversion tracts were measured using silent restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) at approximately 100bp intervals. Transcription did not alter average tract lengths, but increased transcription in donor alleles increased both the frequency of promoter-proximal (5') unidirectional tracts and conversion of 5' markers. Increased transcription in recipient alleles increased the frequency of bidirectional tracts. We demonstrate that these effects are due to transcription per se, and not just transcription factor binding. These results suggest that transcription influences aspects of gene conversion after initiation, such as strand invasion and/or mismatch repair (MMR).

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