Homologous recombination in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe: different requirements for the rhp51+, rhp54+ and rad22+ genes
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The Schizosaccharomyces pombe rhp51 + , rad22 + and rhp54 + genes are homologous to RAD51, RAD52 and RAD54 respectively, which are indispensable in the recombinational repair of double-strand breaks (DSBs) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The rhp51Δ and rhp54Δ strains are extremely sensitive to ionizing radiation; the rad22Δ mutant turned out to be much less sensitive. Homologous recombination in these mutants was studied by targeted integration at the leu1-32 locus. These experiments revealed that rhp51Δ and rhp54Δ are equally impaired in the integration of plasmid molecules (15-fold reduction), while integration in the rad22Δ mutant is only reduced by a factor of two. Blot-analysis demonstrated that the majority of the leu+ transformants of the wild-type and rad22Δ strains have integrated one or more copies of the vector. Gene conversion events were observed in less than 10% of the transformants. Interestingly, the relative contribution of gene conversion events is much higher in a rhp51Δ and a rhp54Δ background. Meiotic recombination is hardly affected in the rad22Δ mutant. The rhp51Δ and rhp54Δ strains also show minor deficiencies in this type of recombination. The viability of spores is 46% in the rad22Δ strain and 27% in the rhp54Δ strain, as compared with wild-type cells. However, in the rhp51Δ mutant the spore viability is only 1.7%, suggesting an essential role for Rhp51 in meiosis. The function of Rhp51 and Rhp54 in damage repair and recombination resembles the role of Rad51 and Rad54 in S. cerevisiae. Compared with Rad52 from S. cerevisiae, Rad22 has a much less prominent role in the recombinational repair pathway in S. pombe.
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