, Volume 285, Issue 6, pp 471-484
Date: 22 Apr 2011

Effect of rad50 mutation on illegitimate recombination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

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Abstract

Genes in the RAD52 epistasis group are involved in repairing DNA double-stranded breaks via homologous recombination. We have previously shown that RAD50 is involved in mitotic nonhomologous integration but not in homologous integration. However, the role of Rad50 in nonhomologous integration has not previously been examined. In the current work, we report that the rad50∆ mutation caused a tenfold decrease in the frequency of nonhomologous integration with the majority of nonhomologous integrants showing an unstable Ura+ phenotype. Sequencing analysis of the integration target sites showed that integration events of both ends of the integrating vector in the rad50∆ mutant occurred at different chromosomal locations, resulting in large deletions or translocations on the genomic insertion sites. Interestingly, 47% of events in the rad50∆ mutant were integrated into repetitive sequences including rDNA locus, telomeres and Ty elements and 27% of events were integrated into non-repetitive sequences as compared to 11% of events integrated into rDNA and 70% into non-repetitive sequences in the wild-type cells. These results showed that deletion of RAD50 significantly changes the distribution of different classes of integration events, suggesting that Rad50 is required for nonhomologous integration at non-repetitive sequences more so than at repetitive ones. Furthermore, Southern analysis indicated that half of the events contained deletions at one or at both ends of the integrating DNA fragment, suggesting that Rad50 might have a role in protecting free ends of double-strand breaks. In contrast to the rad50∆ mutant, the rad50S mutant (separation of function allele) slightly increases the frequency of nonhomologous integration but the distribution of integration events is similar to that of wild-type cells with the majority of events integrated into a chromosomal locus. Our results suggest that deletion of RAD50 may block the major pathway of nonhomologous integration into a non-repetitive chromosomal locus and Rad50 may be involved in tethering two ends of the integrating DNA into close proximity that facilitates nonhomologous integration of both ends into a single chromosomal locus.

Communicated by A. Aguilera.