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Nucleic Acids Res. 2010 Mar;38(4):1195-203. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkp1064. Epub 2009 Dec 3.

Elevated dNTP levels suppress hyper-recombination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae S-phase checkpoint mutants.

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  • 1Ordway Research Institute, 150 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12209, USA.


MEC1, the essential yeast homolog of the human ATR/ATM genes, controls the S-phase checkpoint and prevents replication fork collapse at slow zones of DNA replication. The viability of hypomorphic mec1-21 is reduced in the rad52 mutant, defective in homologous recombination, suggesting that replication generates recombinogenic lesions. We previously observed a 6-, 10- and 30-fold higher rate of spontaneous sister chromatid exchange (SCE), heteroallelic recombination and translocations, respectively, in mec1-21 mutants compared to wild-type. Here we report that the hyper-recombination phenotype correlates with lower deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) levels, compared to wild-type. By introducing a dun1 mutation, thus eliminating inducible expression of ribonucleotide reductase in mec1-21, rates of spontaneous SCE increased 15-fold above wild-type. All the hyper-recombination phenotypes were reduced by SML1 deletions, which increase dNTP levels. Measurements of dNTP pools indicated that, compared to wild-type, there was a significant decrease in dNTP levels in mec1-21, dun1 and mec1-21 dun1, while the dNTP levels of mec1-21 sml1, mec1-21 dun1 sml1 and sml1 mutants were approximately 2-fold higher. Interestingly, higher dNTP levels in mec1-21 dun1 sml1 correlate with approximately 2-fold higher rate of spontaneous mutagenesis, compared to mec1-21 dun1. We suggest that higher dNTP levels in specific checkpoint mutants suppress the formation of recombinogenic lesions.

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