, Volume 23, Issue 5-6, pp 402-407

The use of a double-marker shuttle vector to study DNA double-strand break repair in wild-type and radiation-sensitive mutants of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

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An episomal DNA vector (YpJA18), encoding two selectable recombinant yeast genes (TRP1, URA3), was constructed to assess the fidelity of DNA repair in haploid repair-competent (RAD) wild-type yeast and several radiation-sensitive mutants. Either a DNA double-strand break (DSB) or a double-strand gap of 169 bp (DSG) was introduced by restriction enzymes in-vitro within the coding sequence of the URA3 gene of this vector. To eliminate transfer artefacts, selection was first applied for the undamaged TRP1 gene followed by counter selection for URA3 gene activity, which indicated correct repair of the DSB and DSG. Correct repair of the damaged URA3 gene was found to be about 90% in RAD cells (normalized for the expression of undamaged URA3 in TRP + transformants). Plasmids isolated from the transformants (URA + TRP +) carry both unique sites (ApaI and NcoI) within the URA3 gene indicating the precise restitution of the 169-bp gap. An excision-repair-defective rad4-4 mutant repaired these lesions as correctly as RAD cells, whereas the mutants rad50-1, rad51-1 and rad54-1, proven to be defective in DSB repair and mitotic recombination, showed less than 5% correct repair of such lesions. In contrast, a representative of the RAD6 epistasis group of genes, the rev2-1 mutant which is sensitive towards UV and ionizing radiation, had a significantly reduced ability (about 20%) for the correct repair of both DSBs and DSGs.

Communicated by K. Wolf