Rad51-independent interchromosomal double-strand break repair by gene conversion requires Rad52 but not Rad55, Rad57, or Dmc1.Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Feb; 28(3):897-906.MC
Homologous recombination (HR) is critical for DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair and genome stabilization. In yeast, HR is catalyzed by the Rad51 strand transferase and its "mediators," including the Rad52 single-strand DNA-annealing protein, two Rad51 paralogs (Rad55 and Rad57), and Rad54. A Rad51 homolog, Dmc1, is important for meiotic HR. In wild-type cells, most DSB repair results in gene conversion, a conservative HR outcome. Because Rad51 plays a central role in the homology search and strand invasion steps, DSBs either are not repaired or are repaired by nonconservative single-strand annealing or break-induced replication mechanisms in rad51Delta mutants. Although DSB repair by gene conversion in the absence of Rad51 has been reported for ectopic HR events (e.g., inverted repeats or between plasmids), Rad51 has been thought to be essential for DSB repair by conservative interchromosomal (allelic) gene conversion. Here, we demonstrate that DSBs stimulate gene conversion between homologous chromosomes (allelic conversion) by >30-fold in a rad51Delta mutant. We show that Rad51-independent allelic conversion and break-induced replication occur independently of Rad55, Rad57, and Dmc1 but require Rad52. Unlike DSB-induced events, spontaneous allelic conversion was detected in both rad51Delta and rad52Delta mutants, but not in a rad51Delta rad52Delta double mutant. The frequencies of crossovers associated with DSB-induced gene conversion were similar in the wild type and the rad51Delta mutant, but discontinuous conversion tracts were fivefold more frequent and tract lengths were more widely distributed in the rad51Delta mutant, indicating that heteroduplex DNA has an altered structure, or is processed differently, in the absence of Rad51.