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Plant Cell. 2011 Dec;23(12):4266-79. doi: 10.1105/tpc.111.091744. Epub 2011 Dec 27.

Identification of plant RAD52 homologs and characterization of the Arabidopsis thaliana RAD52-like genes.

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Department of Plant Sciences, Weizman Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


RADiation sensitive52 (RAD52) mediates RAD51 loading onto single-stranded DNA ends, thereby initiating homologous recombination and catalyzing DNA annealing. RAD52 is highly conserved among eukaryotes, including animals and fungi. This article reports that RAD52 homologs are present in all plants whose genomes have undergone extensive sequencing. Computational analyses suggest a very early RAD52 gene duplication, followed by later lineage-specific duplications, during the evolution of higher plants. Plant RAD52 proteins have high sequence similarity to the oligomerization and DNA binding N-terminal domain of RAD52 proteins. Remarkably, the two identified Arabidopsis thaliana RAD52 genes encode four open reading frames (ORFs) through differential splicing, each of which specifically localized to the nucleus, mitochondria, or chloroplast. The A. thaliana RAD52-1A ORF provided partial complementation to the yeast rad52 mutant. A. thaliana mutants and RNA interference lines defective in the expression of RAD52-1 or RAD52-2 showed reduced fertility, sensitivity to mitomycin C, and decreased levels of intrachromosomal recombination compared with the wild type. In summary, computational and experimental analyses provide clear evidence for the presence of functional RAD52 DNA-repair homologs in plants.

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