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Cell. 2009 Sep 18;138(6):1109-21. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.07.013.

Recombinational repair within heterochromatin requires ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling.

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University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.


Heterochromatin plays a key role in protection of chromosome integrity by suppressing homologous recombination. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Sir2p, Sir3p, and Sir4p are structural components of heterochromatin found at telomeres and the silent mating-type loci. Here we have investigated whether incorporation of Sir proteins into minichromosomes regulates early steps of recombinational repair in vitro. We find that addition of Sir3p to a nucleosomal substrate is sufficient to eliminate yRad51p-catalyzed formation of joints, and that this repression is enhanced by Sir2p/Sir4p. Importantly, Sir-mediated repression requires histone residues that are critical for silencing in vivo. Moreover, we demonstrate that the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling enzyme facilitates joint formation by evicting Sir3p, thereby promoting subsequent Rad54p-dependent formation of a strand invasion product. These results suggest that recombinational repair in the context of heterochromatin presents additional constraints that can be overcome by ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling enzymes.

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