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Genetics. 1980 Jan;94(1):51-68.

The Role of Radiation (rad) Genes in Meiotic Recombination in Yeast.

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Division of Microbiology, National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, U. K. and Department of Biology, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois 60616.


In yeast, the functions controlled by radiation-repair genes RAD6, RAD50, RAD52 and RAD57 are essential for normal meiosis; diploids with lesions in these genes either fail to sporulate (rad6) or sporulate but produce inviable spores (rad50, 52, 57). Since RAD genes may control aspects of DNA metabolism, we attempted to define more precisely the role of each gene in meiosis, especially with regard to possible roles in premeiotic DNA replication and recombination. We constructed diploids singly homozygous for each of the four rad mutations, heteroallelic at his1 and heterozygous for a recessive canavanine-resistance marker. Each strain was exposed to sporulation-inducing conditions and monitored for (1) completion of mitotic cell cycles, (2) cell viability, (3) utilization of acetate for mass increases, (4) premeiotic DNA synthesis, (5) intragenic recombination at his1, and (6) formation of viable haploid spores. Control strains heterozygous for the rad mutations completed mitosis, metabolized acetate, replicated their DNA, and showed typically high levels of gene conversion and viable-spore formation. The mutant diploids also completed mitosis, utilized acetate, and carried out premeiotic DNA replication. The mutants, however, showed little or no meiotic gene conversion. The rad50, 52 and 57 strains sporulated, but the spores were inviable. The rad6 strain did not sporulate. The rad50, 52 and 57 strains exhibited viability losses that coincided with the period of DNA synthesis, but not with later meiotic events; the rad6 strain did not lose viability. We propose that the normal functions specified by RAD50, 52 and 57 are not essential for either the initial or terminal steps in meiosis, but are required for successful recombination. The rad6 strain may be recombination-defective, or it may fail to progress past DNA replication in the overall sequence leading to formation and recovery of meiotic recombinants.

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