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DNA Repair (Amst). 2011 Jun 10;10(6):556-66. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2011.03.002. Epub 2011 Apr 22.

Minisatellite alterations in ZRT1 mutants occur via RAD52-dependent and RAD52-independent mechanisms in quiescent stationary phase yeast cells.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Alterations in minisatellite DNA repeat tracts are associated with a variety of human diseases including Type 1 diabetes, progressive myoclonus epilepsy, and some types of cancer. However, in spite of their role in human health, the factors required for minisatellite alterations are not well understood. We previously identified a stationary phase specific increase in minisatellite instability caused by mutations in the high affinity zinc transporter ZRT1, using a minisatellite inserted into the ADE2 locus in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here, we examined ZRT1-mediated minisatellite instability in yeast strains lacking key recombination genes to determine the mechanisms by which these alterations occur. Our analysis revealed that minisatellite alterations in a Δzrt1 mutant occur by a combination of RAD52-dependent and RAD52-independent mechanisms. In this study, plasmid-based experiments demonstrate that ZRT1-mediated minisatellite alterations occur independently of chromosomal context or adenine auxotrophy, and confirmed the stationary phase timing of the events. To further examine the stationary phase specificity of ZRT1-mediated minisatellite alterations, we deleted ETR1 and POR1, genes that were previously shown to differentially affect the viability of quiescent or nonquiescent cells in stationary phase populations. These experiments revealed that minisatellite alterations in Δzrt1 mutants occur exclusively in quiescent stationary phase cells. Finally, we show that loss of ZRT1 stimulates alterations in a derivative of the human HRAS1 minisatellite. We propose that the mechanism of ZRT1-mediated minisatellite instability during quiescence is relevant to human cells, and thus, human disease.

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