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Genetics. 1992 Mar;130(3):451-60.

Site-specific recombination determined by I-SceI, a mitochondrial group I intron-encoded endonuclease expressed in the yeast nucleus.

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Unité de génétique moléculaire des levures, URA1149 du CNRS, Département de Biologie moléculaire, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


The Saccharomyces cerevisiae mitochondrial endonuclease I-SceI creates a double-strand break as the initiating step in the gene conversional transfer of the omega+ intron to omega- DNA. We have expressed a galactose-inducible synthetic I-SceI gene in the nucleus of yeast that also carries the I-SceI recognition site on a plasmid substrate. We find that the galactose-induced I-SceI protein can be active in the nucleus and efficiently catalyze recombination. With a target plasmid containing direct repeats of the Escherichia coli lacZ gene, one copy of which is interrupted by a 24-bp cutting site, galactose induction produces both deletions and gene conversions. Both the kinetics and the proportion of deletions and gene conversions are very similar to analogous events initiated by a galactose-inducible HO endonuclease gene. We also find that, in a rad52 mutant strain, the repair of double-strand breaks initiated by I-SceI and by HO are similarly affected: the formation of deletions is reduced, but not eliminated. Altogether, these results suggest either that the two endonucleases act in the same way after double-strand break formation or that the two endonucleases are not involved in subsequent steps.

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