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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Recombinogenic effects of DNA-damaging agents are synergistically increased by transcription in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. New insights into transcription-associated recombination.

Homologous recombination of a particular DNA sequence is strongly stimulated by transcription, a phenomenon observed from bacteria to mammals, which we refer to as transcription-associated recombination (TAR). TAR might be an accidental feature of DNA chemistry with important consequences for genetic stability. However, it is also essential for developmentally regulated processes such as class switching of immunoglobulin genes. Consequently, it is likely that TAR embraces more than one mechanism. In this study we tested the possibility that transcription induces recombination by making DNA more susceptible to recombinogenic DNA damage. Using different plasmid-chromosome and direct-repeat recombination constructs in which transcription is driven from either the P(GAL1)- or the P(tet)-regulated promoters, we have shown that either 4-nitroquinoline-N-oxide (4-NQO) or methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) produces a synergistic increase of recombination when combined with transcription. 4-NQO and MMS stimulated recombination of a transcriptionally active DNA sequence up to 12,800- and 130-fold above the spontaneous levels observed in the absence of transcription, whereas 4-NQO and MMS alone increased recombination 193- and 4.5-fold, respectively. Our results provide evidence that TAR is due, at least in part, to the ability of transcription to enhance the accessibility of DNA to exogenous chemicals and internal metabolites responsible for recombinogenic lesions. We discuss possible parallelisms between the mechanisms of induction of recombination and mutation by transcription.[1]


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