Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mol Cell Biol. 2000 Dec;20(23):9068-75.

Coupled homologous and nonhomologous repair of a double-strand break preserves genomic integrity in mammalian cells.

Author information

Cell Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, New York, New York 10021, USA.


DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) may be caused by normal metabolic processes or exogenous DNA damaging agents and can promote chromosomal rearrangements, including translocations, deletions, or chromosome loss. In mammalian cells, both homologous recombination and nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) are important DSB repair pathways for the maintenance of genomic stability. Using a mouse embryonic stem cell system, we previously demonstrated that a DSB in one chromosome can be repaired by recombination with a homologous sequence on a heterologous chromosome, without any evidence of genome rearrangements (C. Richardson, M. E. Moynahan, and M. Jasin, Genes Dev., 12:3831-3842, 1998). To determine if genomic integrity would be compromised if homology were constrained, we have now examined interchromosomal recombination between truncated but overlapping gene sequences. Despite these constraints, recombinants were readily recovered when a DSB was introduced into one of the sequences. The overwhelming majority of recombinants showed no evidence of chromosomal rearrangements. Instead, events were initiated by homologous invasion of one chromosome end and completed by NHEJ to the other chromosome end, which remained highly preserved throughout the process. Thus, genomic integrity was maintained by a coupling of homologous and nonhomologous repair pathways. Interestingly, the recombination frequency, although not the structure of the recombinant repair products, was sensitive to the relative orientation of the gene sequences on the interacting chromosomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center