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Genetics. 1998 Jul;149(3):1235-50.

Effects of DNA double-strand and single-strand breaks on intrachromosomal recombination events in cell-cycle-arrested yeast cells.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Toxicology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Intrachromosomal recombination between repeated elements can result in deletion (DEL recombination) events. We investigated the inducibility of such intrachromosomal recombination events at different stages of the cell cycle and the nature of the primary DNA lesions capable of initiating these events. Two genetic systems were constructed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that select for DEL recombination events between duplicated alleles of CDC28 and TUB2. We determined effects of double-strand breaks (DSBs) and single-strand breaks (SSBs) between the duplicated alleles on DEL recombination when induced in dividing cells or cells arrested in G1 or G2. Site-specific DSBs and SSBs were produced by overexpression of the I-Sce I endonuclease and the gene II protein (gIIp), respectively. I-Sce I-induced DSBs caused an increase in DEL recombination frequencies in both dividing and cell-cycle-arrested cells, indicating that G1- and G2-arrested cells are capable of completing DSB repair. In contrast, gIIp-induced SSBs caused an increase in DEL recombination frequency only in dividing cells. To further examine these phenomena we used both gamma-irradiation, inducing DSBs as its most relevant lesion, and UV, inducing other forms of DNA damage. UV irradiation did not increase DEL recombination frequencies in G1 or G2, whereas gamma-rays increased DEL recombination frequencies in both phases. Both forms of radiation, however, induced DEL recombination in dividing cells. The results suggest that DSBs but not SSBs induce DEL recombination, probably via the single-strand annealing pathway. Further, DSBs in dividing cells may result from the replication of a UV or SSB-damaged template. Alternatively, UV induced events may occur by replication slippage after DNA polymerase pausing in front of the damage.

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