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Genetics. 2006 Oct;174(2):555-73. Epub 2006 Jul 2.

The absence of Top3 reveals an interaction between the Sgs1 and Pif1 DNA helicases in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Department of Genetics and Development, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032-2704, USA.


RecQ DNA helicases and Topo III topoisomerases have conserved genetic, physical, and functional interactions that are consistent with a model in which RecQ creates a recombination-dependent substrate that is resolved by Topo III. The phenotype associated with Topo III loss suggests that accumulation of a RecQ-created substrate is detrimental. In yeast, mutation of the TOP3 gene encoding Topo III causes pleiotropic defects that are suppressed by deletion of the RecQ homolog Sgs1. We searched for gene dosage suppressors of top3 and identified Pif1, a DNA helicase that acts with polarity opposite to that of Sgs1. Pif1 overexpression suppresses multiple top3 defects, but exacerbates sgs1 and sgs1 top3 defects. Furthermore, Pif1 helicase activity is essential in the absence of Top3 in an Sgs1-dependent manner. These data clearly demonstrate that Pif1 helicase activity is required to counteract Sgs1 helicase activity that has become uncoupled from Top3. Pif1 genetic interactions with the Sgs1-Top3 pathway are dependent upon homologous recombination. We also find that Pif1 is recruited to DNA repair foci and that the frequency of these foci is significantly increased in top3 mutants. Our results support a model in which Pif1 has a direct role in the prevention or repair of Sgs1-induced DNA damage that accumulates in top3 mutants.

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