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Mutat Res. 1991 Jul;255(1):79-88.

P transposition in Drosophila provides a new tool for analyzing postreplication repair and double-strand break repair.

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Department of Genetics, University of California, Davis 95616.


A genetic screen has been developed in Drosophila for identifying host-repair genes responsible for processing DNA lesions formed during mobilization of P transposable elements. Application of that approach to repair deficient mutants has revealed that the mei-41 and mus302 genes are necessary for recovery of P-bearing chromosomes undergoing transposition. Both of these genes are required for normal postreplication repair. Mutants deficient in excision repair, on the other hand, have no detected effect on the repair of transposition-induced lesions. These observations suggest that P element-induced lesions are repaired by a postreplication pathway of DNA repair. The data further support recent studies implicating double-strand DNA breaks as intermediates in P transposition, because the mei-41 gene has been genetically and cytologically associated with the repair of interrupted chromosomes. Analysis of this system has also revealed a striking stimulation of site-specific gene conversion and recombination by P transposition. This result strongly suggests that postreplication repair in this model eukaryote operates through a conversion/recombination mechanism. Our results also support a recently developed model for a conversion-like mechanism of P transposition (Engels et al., 1990). Involvement of the mei-41 and mus302 genes in the repair of P element-induced double-strand breaks and postreplication repair points to a commonality in the mechanisms of these processes.

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