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Plant J. 2001 Jan;25(1):31-41.

Disruption of the Arabidopsis RAD50 gene leads to plant sterility and MMS sensitivity.

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UMR 6547 BIOMOVE, Université Blaise Pascal, 24 ave. des Landais, 63177 Aubiere, France.


The Rad50 protein is involved in the cellular response to DNA-double strand breaks (DSBs), including the detection of damage, activation of cell-cycle checkpoints, and DSB repair via recombination. It is essential for meiosis in yeast, is involved in telomere maintenance, and is essential for cellular viability in mice. Here we present the isolation, sequence and characterization of the Arabidopsis thaliana RAD50 homologue (AtRAD50) and an Arabidopsis mutant of this gene. A single copy of this gene is present in the Arabidopsis genome, located on chromosome II. Northern analysis shows a single 4.3 Kb mRNA species in all plant tissues tested, which is strongly enriched in flowers and other tissues with many dividing cells. The predicted protein presents strong conservation with the other known Rad50 homologues of the amino- and carboxy-terminal regions. Mutant plants present a sterility phenotype which co-segregates with the T-DNA insertion. Molecular analysis of the mutant plants shows that the sterility phenotype is present only in the plants homozygous for the T-DNA insertion. An in vitro mutant cell line, derived from the mutant plant, shows a clear hypersensitivity to the DNA-damaging agent methylmethane sulphonate, suggesting a role of RAD50 in double-strand break repair in plant cells. This is the first report of a plant mutated in a protein of the Rad50-Mre11-Xrs2 complex, as well as the first data suggesting the involvement of the Rad50 homologue protein in meiosis and DNA repair in plants.

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