Mutagenic repair of a ZFN-induced double-strand break in yeast: Effects of cleavage site sequence and spacer size.
Double-strand breaks are repaired by error-free homologous recombination or by relatively error-prone pathways that directly join broken ends. Both types of repair have been extensively studied in Saccharomyces cerevisiae using enzymes HO or I-SceI, which create breaks with 4-nt 3' overhangs. In the current study, a galactose-regulated zinc-finger nuclease (ZFN) designed to cleave the Drosophila rosy locus was used to generate breaks with 4-nt 5' overhangs at out-of-frame cleavage sites inserted into the yeast LYS2 gene. Mutagenic repair was examined following selection of prototrophs on lysine-deficient medium containing galactose or surviving colonies on galactose-containing rich medium. Following cleavage of the original rosy spacer (ACGAAT), most Lys+ colonies contained 1- or 4-bp insertions at the cleavage site while most survivors had either a 2-bp insertion or a large deletion. Small insertions reflected nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) and large deletions were the product of microhomology-mediated end joining (MMEJ). Changing the original ACGAAT spacer to either AGCAAT, ACGCGT or CTATTA altered the molecular features of NHEJ events as well as their frequency relative to MMEJ. Altering the optimal 6-bp spacer size between the zinc-finger protein binding sites to 5 bp or 7 bp eliminated the effect of continuous ZFN expression on survival, but Lys+ prototrophs were still generated. Analysis of Lys+ revertants after cleavage of the 5-bp spacer indicated that both the position and spacing of ZFN-generated nicks were variable. Results provide insight into effects of overhang sequence on mutagenic outcomes and demonstrate ZFN cleavage of 5- or 7-bp spacers in vivo.
Shaltz, S; Jinks-Robertson, S
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