Removal of N-6-methyladenine by the nucleotide excision repair pathway triggers the repair of mismatches in yeast gap-repair intermediates.
Gap-repair assays have been an important tool for studying the genetic control of homologous recombination in yeast. Sequence analysis of recombination products derived when a gapped plasmid is diverged relative to the chromosomal repair template additionally has been used to infer structures of strand-exchange intermediates. In the absence of the canonical mismatch repair pathway, mismatches present in these intermediates are expected to persist and segregate at the next round of DNA replication. In a mismatch repair defective (mlh1Δ) background, however, we have observed that recombination-generated mismatches are often corrected to generate gene conversion or restoration events. In the analyses reported here, the source of the aberrant mismatch removal during gap repair was examined. We find that most mismatch removal is linked to the methylation status of the plasmid used in the gap-repair assay. Whereas more than half of Dam-methylated plasmids had patches of gene conversion and/or restoration interspersed with unrepaired mismatches, mismatch removal was observed in less than 10% of products obtained when un-methylated plasmids were used in transformation experiments. The methylation-linked removal of mismatches in recombination intermediates was due specifically to the nucleotide excision repair pathway, with such mismatch removal being partially counteracted by glycosylases of the base excision repair pathway. These data demonstrate that nucleotide excision repair activity is not limited to bulky, helix-distorting DNA lesions, but also targets removal of very modest perturbations in DNA structure. In addition to its effects on mismatch removal, methylation reduced the overall gap-repair efficiency, but this reduction was not affected by the status of excision repair pathways. Finally, gel purification of DNA prior to transformation reduced gap-repair efficiency four-fold in a nucleotide excision repair-defective background, indicating that the collateral introduction of UV damage can potentially compromise genetic interpretations.
Guo, X; Jinks-Robertson, S
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