The contributions of the Sgs1, Mph1, and Srs2 DNA helicases during mitotic double-strand break (DSB) repair in yeast were investigated using a gap-repair assay. A diverged chromosomal substrate was used as a repair template for the gapped plasmid, allowing mismatch-containing heteroduplex DNA (hDNA) formed during recombination to be monitored. Overall DSB repair efficiencies and the proportions of crossovers (COs) versus noncrossovers (NCOs) were determined in wild-type and helicase-defective strains, allowing the efficiency of CO and NCO production in each background to be calculated. In addition, the products of individual NCO events were sequenced to determine the location of hDNA. Because hDNA position is expected to differ depending on whether a NCO is produced by synthesis-dependent-strand-annealing (SDSA) or through a Holliday junction (HJ)–containing intermediate, its position allows the underlying molecular mechanism to be inferred. Results demonstrate that each helicase reduces the proportion of CO recombinants, but that each does so in a fundamentally different way. Mph1 does not affect the overall efficiency of gap repair, and its loss alters the CO-NCO by promoting SDSA at the expense of HJ–containing intermediates. By contrast, Sgs1 and Srs2 are each required for efficient gap repair, strongly promoting NCO formation and having little effect on CO efficiency. hDNA analyses suggest that all three helicases promote SDSA, and that Sgs1 and Srs2 additionally dismantle HJ–containing intermediates. The hDNA data are consistent with the proposed role of Sgs1 in the dissolution of double HJs, and we propose that Srs2 dismantles nicked HJs.
Chromosomal damage that occurs during normal cell division can be repaired using an intact sequence elsewhere in the genome as a template. This process, termed homologous recombination, is crucial for the repair of a particularly deleterious lesion, the DNA double-strand break. Although recombination is a repair process, it can also lead to exchanges of genetic material, generating crossovers (COs) between the involved chromosomes. Repair of the break without exchange of flanking DNA is called a noncrossover (NCO). As COs can uncover recessive mutations or result in large-scale genome rearrangements, understanding how the CO-NCO outcome is regulated is critical to issues of genome stability. The current study examines the distinctive mechanisms whereby three yeast DNA helicases—Mph1, Sgs1, and Srs2—contribute to the repair of a DNA double-strand break.
Although DNA-protein cross-links (DPCs) pose a significant threat to genome stability, they remain a poorly understood class of DNA lesions. To define genetic impacts of DPCs on eukaryotic cells in molecular terms, we used a sensitive Saccharomyces cerevisiae frameshift-detection assay to analyze mutagenesis by formaldehyde (HCHO), and its response to nucleotide excision repair (NER) and translesion DNA synthesis (TLS). Brief exposure to HCHO was mutagenic for NER-defective rad14 strains but not for a corresponding RAD14 strain, nor for a rad14 strain lacking both Polζ and Polη TLS polymerases. This confirmed that HCHO-generated DNA lesions can trigger error-prone TLS and are substrates for the NER pathway. Sequencing revealed that HCHO-induced single-base-pair insertions occurred primarily at one hotspot; most of these insertions were also complex, changing an additional base-pair nearby. Most of the HCHO-induced mutations required both Polζ and Polη, providing a striking example of cooperativity between these two TLS polymerases during bypass of a DNA lesion formed in vivo. The similar molecular properties of HCHO-induced and spontaneous complex +1 insertions detected by this system suggest that DPCs which form in vivo during normal metabolism may contribute characteristic events to the spectra of spontaneous mutations in NER-deficient cells.
DNA-protein cross-link; frameshift mutations; Complex insertions; DNA Polymerase ζ; DNA Polymerase η
Copy number expansions such as amplifications and duplications contribute to human phenotypic variation, promote molecular diversification during evolution, and drive the initiation and/or progression of various cancers. The mechanisms underlying these copy number changes are still incompletely understood, however. We recently demonstrated that transient, limited re-replication from a single origin in Saccharomyces cerevisiae efficiently induces segmental amplification of the re-replicated region. Structural analyses of such re-replication induced gene amplifications (RRIGA) suggested that RRIGA could provide a new mechanism for generating copy number variation by non-allelic homologous recombination (NAHR). Here we elucidate this new mechanism and provide insight into why it is so efficient. We establish that sequence homology is both necessary and sufficient for repetitive elements to participate in RRIGA and show that their recombination occurs by a single-strand annealing (SSA) mechanism. We also find that re-replication forks are prone to breakage, accounting for the widespread DNA damage associated with deregulation of replication proteins. These breaks appear to stimulate NAHR between re-replicated repeat sequences flanking a re-initiating replication origin. Our results support a RRIGA model where the expansion of a re-replication bubble beyond flanking homologous sequences followed by breakage at both forks in trans provides an ideal structural context for SSA–mediated NAHR to form a head-to-tail duplication. Given the remarkable efficiency of RRIGA, we suggest it may be an unappreciated contributor to copy number expansions in both disease and evolution.
Duplications and amplifications of chromosomal segments are frequently observed in eukaryotic genomes, including both normal and cancerous human genomes. These copy number variations contribute to the phenotypic variation upon which natural selection acts. For example, the amplification of genes whose excessive copy number facilitates uncontrolled cell division is often selected for during tumor development. Copy number variations can often arise when repetitive sequence elements, which are dispersed throughout eukaryotic genomes, undergo a rearrangement called non-allelic homologous recombination. Exactly how these rearrangements occur is poorly understood. Here, using budding yeast to model this class of copy number variation, we uncover a new and highly efficient mechanism by which these variations can be generated. The precipitating event is the aberrant re-initiation of DNA replication at a replication origin. Normally the hundreds to thousands of origins scattered throughout a eukaryotic genome are tightly controlled such that each is permitted to initiate only once per cell cycle. However, disruptions in these controls can allow origins to re-initiate, and we show how the resulting DNA re-replication structure can be readily converted into a tandem duplication via non-allelic homologous recombination. Hence, the re-initiation of DNA replication is a potential source of copy number variation both in disease and during evolution.
Chromosomal DNA must be in single-strand form for important transactions such as replication, transcription, and recombination to occur. The single-strand DNA (ssDNA) is more prone to damage than double-strand DNA (dsDNA), due to greater exposure of chemically reactive moieties in the nitrogenous bases. Thus, there can be agents that damage regions of ssDNA in vivo while being inert toward dsDNA. To assess the potential hazard posed by such agents, we devised an ssDNA–specific mutagenesis reporter system in budding yeast. The reporter strains bear the cdc13-1 temperature-sensitive mutation, such that shifting to 37°C results in telomere uncapping and ensuing 5′ to 3′ enzymatic resection. This exposes the reporter region, containing three closely-spaced reporter genes, as a long 3′ ssDNA overhang. We validated the ability of the system to detect mutagenic damage within ssDNA by expressing a modified human single-strand specific cytosine deaminase, APOBEC3G. APOBEC3G induced a high density of substitutions at cytosines in the ssDNA overhang strand, resulting in frequent, simultaneous inactivation of two reporter genes. We then examined the mutagenicity of sulfites, a class of reactive sulfur oxides to which humans are exposed frequently via respiration and food intake. Sulfites, at a concentration similar to that found in some foods, induced a high density of mutations, almost always as substitutions at cytosines in the ssDNA overhang strand, resulting in simultaneous inactivation of at least two reporter genes. Furthermore, sulfites formed a long-lived adducted 2′-deoxyuracil intermediate in DNA that was resistant to excision by uracil–DNA N-glycosylase. This intermediate was bypassed by error-prone translesion DNA synthesis, frequently involving Pol ζ, during repair synthesis. Our results suggest that sulfite-induced lesions in DNA can be particularly deleterious, since cells might not possess the means to repair or bypass such lesions accurately.
A cell's genome is encoded within double-strand DNA. Yet DNA must exist transiently in single-strand form to template transcription, replication, and repair. As DNA is more prone to damage in single-strand (ssDNA) than double-strand (dsDNA) form, there can be agents that mutate ssDNA, but not dsDNA. Since existing experimental systems cannot identify mutagens specifically mutating ssDNA inside cells, we devised a system of yeast strains, containing three closely-spaced reporter genes, for this purpose. We exposed yeast, under conditions where reporter DNA is single-stranded, either to an enzyme (APOBEC3G) or to a chemical (sulfites) that modifies cytosine, resulting in clusters of mutations that inactivated multiple reporter genes. Neither agent induced mutations in control strains where reporter genes remained double-stranded, confirming that both are potent ssDNA–specific mutagens within cells. Finally, our approach ascertained molecular mechanisms of action by which agents can mutate ssDNA specifically within cells, an area that warrants much investigation following reports that ssDNA–specific damage accounts for similar mutation clusters, and up to 40% of all mutations, in various cancers.
DNA amplification is a molecular process that increases the copy number of a chromosomal tract and often causes elevated expression of the amplified gene(s). Although gene amplification is frequently observed in cancer and other degenerative disorders, the molecular mechanisms involved in the process of DNA copy number increase remain largely unknown. We hypothesized that small DNA fragments could be the trigger of DNA amplification events. Following our findings that small fragments of DNA in the form of DNA oligonucleotides can be highly recombinogenic, we have developed a system in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to capture events of chromosomal DNA amplification initiated by small DNA fragments. Here we demonstrate that small DNAs can amplify a chromosomal region, generating either tandem duplications or acentric extrachromosomal DNA circles. Small fragment-driven DNA amplification (SFDA) occurs with a frequency that increases with the length of homology between the small DNAs and the target chromosomal regions. SFDA events are triggered even by small single-stranded molecules with as little as 20-nt homology with the genomic target. A double-strand break (DSB) external to the chromosomal amplicon region stimulates the amplification event up to a factor of 20 and favors formation of extrachromosomal circles. SFDA is dependent on Rad52 and Rad59, partially dependent on Rad1, Rad10, and Pol32, and independent of Rad51, suggesting a single-strand annealing mechanism. Our results reveal a novel molecular model for gene amplification, in which small DNA fragments drive DNA amplification and define the boundaries of the amplicon region. As DNA fragments are frequently found both inside cells and in the extracellular environment, such as the serum of patients with cancer or other degenerative disorders, we propose that SFDA may be a common mechanism for DNA amplification in cancer cells, as well as a more general cause of DNA copy number variation in nature.
DNA amplification is a copy-number increase of a DNA segment. Although DNA amplification is frequently observed in cancer and other degenerative disorders, the molecular mechanisms initiating this process are still largely elusive. Here we demonstrate that small DNA fragments with homology to two distant loci on the same chromosomal arm can trigger amplification of the region between the loci in yeast S. cerevisiae. Small fragment-driven DNA amplification (SFDA) is detected as intrachromosomal tandem duplications or extrachromosomal circles. Furthermore, a double-strand break several kilobases from the chromosomal amplicon region stimulates SFDA. SFDA efficiency depends on the homology length shared by the small DNAs and the target chromosomal loci. Homology as short as 20 nucleotides and even single-stranded molecules trigger SFDA. These results reveal a novel mechanism for initiating gene amplification, which could occur in cancer cells and could contribute to copy-number polymorphisms driving genetic variation in humans and other organisms.
The bypass of AP sites in yeast requires the Rev1 protein in addition to the Pol ζ translesion synthesis DNA polymerase. Although Rev1 was originally characterized biochemically as a dCMP transferase during AP-site bypass, the relevance of this activity in vivo is unclear. The current study uses highly sensitive frameshift- and nonsense-reversion assays to monitor the bypass of AP sites created when uracil is excised from chromosomal DNA. In the frameshift-reversion assay, an unselected base substitution frequently accompanies the selected mutation, allowing the relative incorporation of each of the four dNMPs opposite endogenously created AP sites to be inferred. Results with this assay suggest that dCMP is the most frequent dNMP inserted opposite uracil-derived AP sites and demonstrate that dCMP insertion absolutely requires the catalytic activity of Rev1. In the complementary nonsense-reversion assay, dCMP insertion likewise depended on the dCMP transferase activity of Rev1. Because dAMP insertion opposite uracil-derived AP sites does not revert the nonsense allele and hence could not be detected, it also was possible to detect low levels of dGMP or dTMP insertion upon loss of Rev1 catalytic activity. These results demonstrate that the catalytic activity of Rev1 is biologically relevant and is required specifically for dCMP insertion during the bypass of endogenous AP sites.
Polζ; Rev1; AP sites; mutagenesis; translesion synthesis
Homologous recombination is a universal mechanism that allows repair of DNA and provides support for DNA replication. Homologous recombination is therefore a major pathway that suppresses non-homology-mediated genome instability. Here, we report that recovery of impeded replication forks by homologous recombination is error-prone. Using a fork-arrest-based assay in fission yeast, we demonstrate that a single collapsed fork can cause mutations and large-scale genomic changes, including deletions and translocations. Fork-arrest-induced gross chromosomal rearrangements are mediated by inappropriate ectopic recombination events at the site of collapsed forks. Inverted repeats near the site of fork collapse stimulate large-scale genomic changes up to 1,500 times over spontaneous events. We also show that the high accuracy of DNA replication during S-phase is impaired by impediments to fork progression, since fork-arrest-induced mutation is due to erroneous DNA synthesis during recovery of replication forks. The mutations caused are small insertions/duplications between short tandem repeats (micro-homology) indicative of replication slippage. Our data establish that collapsed forks, but not stalled forks, recovered by homologous recombination are prone to replication slippage. The inaccuracy of DNA synthesis does not rely on PCNA ubiquitination or trans-lesion-synthesis DNA polymerases, and it is not counteracted by mismatch repair. We propose that deletions/insertions, mediated by micro-homology, leading to copy number variations during replication stress may arise by progression of error-prone replication forks restarted by homologous recombination.
The appropriate transmission of genetic material during successive cell divisions requires the accurate duplication and segregation of parental DNA. The semi-conservative replication of chromosomes during S-phase is highly accurate and prevents accumulation of deleterious mutations. However, during each round of duplication, there are many impediments to the replication fork machinery that may hinder faithful chromosome duplication. Homologous recombination is a universal mechanism involved in the rescue of replication forks by rebuilding a replication apparatus at the fork (by mechanisms that are not yet understood). However, recombination can jeopardize genome stability because it allows genetic exchanges between homologous repeated sequences dispersed through the genome. In this study, we employ a fission yeast-based arrest of a single replication fork to investigate the consequences of replication fork arrest for genome stability. We report that a single blocked fork favours genomic deletions, translocations, and mutations; and this instability occurs during fork recovery by recombination. We also report that a single arrested fork that resumes its progression by recombination is prone to causing replication slippage mediated by micro-homology. We propose that deletions/duplications observed in human cancer cells suffering from replication stress can be viewed as scars left by error-prone replication forks restarted by recombination.
Non-B DNA structures are a major contributor to the genomic instability associated with repetitive sequences. Immunoglobulin switch Mu (Sμ) region sequence is comprised of guanine-rich repeats and has high potential for forming G4 DNA, in which one strand of DNA folds into an array of guanine quartets. Taking advantage of the genetic tractability of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we developed a recombination assay to investigate mechanisms involved in maintaining stability of G-rich repetitive sequence. By embedding Sμ sequence within recombination substrates under the control of a tetracycline-regulatable promoter, we demonstrate that the rate and orientation of transcription both affect the stability of Sμ sequence. In particular, the greatest instability was observed under high-transcription conditions when the Sμ sequence was oriented with the C-rich strand as the transcription template. The effect of transcription orientation was enhanced in the absence of the Type IB topoiosmerase Top1, possibly due to enhanced R-loop formation. Loss of Sgs1 helicase and RNase H activity also increased instability, suggesting they may cooperatively function to reduce the formation of non-B DNA structures in highly transcribed regions. Finally, the Sμ sequence was unstable when transcription elongation was perturbed due to a defective THO complex. In a THO-deficient background, there was further exacerbation of orientation-dependent instability associated with the ectopically expressed, single-strand cytosine deaminase AID. The implications of our findings to understanding instability associated with potential G4 DNA forming sequences are discussed.
G4 DNA; R-loops; genome instability; transcription; recombination
Translesion synthesis (TLS) polymerases are specialized DNA polymerases capable of inserting nucleotides opposite DNA lesions that escape removal by dedicated DNA repair pathways. TLS polymerases allow cells to complete DNA replication in the presence of damage, thereby preventing checkpoint activation, genome instability, and cell death. Here, we characterize functional knockouts for polh-1 and polk-1, encoding the Caenorhabditis elegans homologs of the Y-family TLS polymerases η and κ. POLH-1 acts at many different DNA lesions as it protects cells against a wide range of DNA damaging agents, including UV, γ-irradiation, cisplatin, and methyl methane sulphonate (MMS). POLK-1 acts specifically but redundantly with POLH-1 in protection against methylation damage. Importantly, both polymerases play a prominent role early in embryonic development to allow fast replication of damaged genomes. Contrary to observations in mammalian cells, we show that neither POLH-1 nor POLK-1 is required for homologous recombination (HR) repair of DNA double-strand breaks. A genome-wide RNAi screen for genes that protect the C. elegans genome against MMS–induced DNA damage identified novel components in DNA damage bypass in the early embryo. Our data suggest SUMO-mediated regulation of both POLH-1 and POLK-1, and point towards a previously unrecognized role of the nuclear pore in regulating TLS.
Unrepaired DNA damage on the template strand poses a problem for the progression of the replication fork. Specialized translesion synthesis (TLS) polymerases are capable of bypassing DNA lesions without repairing them. Here, we use the nematode C. elegans, to show that there is modulation of the choice between repair and bypass during development. We show that during gametogenesis and later development repair dominates, while there is a short phase during embryonic development where resistance to damage depends heavily on TLS polymerases. The rapid divisions at this stage do not allow for delay in which repair processes can occur. Furthermore, we identify new factors that may play a role in the regulation of TLS during early embryogenesis.
DNA damage checkpoint activation can be subdivided in two steps: initial activation and signal amplification. The events distinguishing these two phases and their genetic determinants remain obscure. TopBP1, a mediator protein containing multiple BRCT domains, binds to and activates the ATR/ATRIP complex through its ATR-Activation Domain (AAD). We show that Schizosaccharomyces pombe Rad4TopBP1 AAD–defective strains are DNA damage sensitive during G1/S-phase, but not during G2. Using lacO-LacI tethering, we developed a DNA damage–independent assay for checkpoint activation that is Rad4TopBP1 AAD–dependent. In this assay, checkpoint activation requires histone H2A phosphorylation, the interaction between TopBP1 and the 9-1-1 complex, and is mediated by the phospho-binding activity of Crb253BP1. Consistent with a model where Rad4TopBP1 AAD–dependent checkpoint activation is ssDNA/RPA–independent and functions to amplify otherwise weak checkpoint signals, we demonstrate that the Rad4TopBP1 AAD is important for Chk1 phosphorylation when resection is limited in G2 by ablation of the resecting nuclease, Exo1. We also show that the Rad4TopBP1 AAD acts additively with a Rad9 AAD in G1/S phase but not G2. We propose that AAD–dependent Rad3ATR checkpoint amplification is particularly important when DNA resection is limiting. In S. pombe, this manifests in G1/S phase and relies on protein–chromatin interactions.
DNA structure–dependent checkpoint activation and the amplification of checkpoint signals are carefully modulated to allow the checkpoint kinases to delay mitosis and regulate DNA metabolism. While much work has gone into understanding how this checkpoint functions, the mechanism by which the checkpoint signal is amplified is less clear. We have characterised a conserved domain in the Schizosaccharomyces pombe TopBP1 homolog, Rad4TopBP1 (also known as Cut5) that is capable of activating the ATR homolog Rad3ATR. We demonstrate that this domain is not required for initial checkpoint activation, but functions to amplify the checkpoint signal, likely when the presence of single-stranded DNA is limiting. Our data suggest that the function of the Rad4TopBP1 ATR-Activation Domain (AAD) is mediated by interactions between checkpoint proteins and phosphorylated histone H2A, which is itself promoted by Rad3ATR. We propose that the resulting amplification of the checkpoint signal is particularly important in G1-S phase, when resection is limited.
The RNase H class of enzymes degrades the RNA component of RNA:DNA hybrids and is important in nucleic acid metabolism. RNase H2 is specialized to remove single ribonucleotides (rNMPs) from duplex DNA, and its absence in budding yeast has been associated with the accumulation of deletions within short tandem repeats. Here, we demonstrate that rNMP-associated deletion formation requires the activity of Top1, a topoisomerase that relaxes supercoils by reversibly nicking duplex DNA. The reported studies extend the role of Top1 to include the processing of rNMPs in genomic DNA into irreversible single-strand breaks, an activity that can have distinct mutagenic consequences and may be relevant to human disease.
Alterations in genome sequence and structure contribute to somatic disease, affect the fitness of subsequent generations and drive evolutionary processes. The critical roles of highly accurate replication and efficient repair in maintaining overall genome integrity are well known, but the more localized stability costs associated with transcribing DNA into RNA molecules are less appreciated. Here we review the diverse ways that the essential process of transcription alters the underlying DNA template and thereby modifies the genetic landscape.
The molecular structures of crossover (CO) and noncrossover (NCO) intermediates were determined by sequencing the products formed when a gapped plasmid was repaired using a diverged chromosomal template. Analyses were done in the absence of mismatch repair (MMR) to allow efficient detection of strand-transfer intermediates, and the results reveal striking differences in the extents and locations of heteroduplex DNA (hDNA) in NCO versus CO products. These data indicate that most NCOs are produced by synthesis-dependent strand annealing rather than by a canonical double-strand break repair pathway, and that resolution of Holliday junctions formed as part of the latter pathway is highly constrained to generate CO products. We suggest a model in which the length of hDNA formed by the initiating strand invasion event determines susceptibility of the resulting intermediate to antirecombination and ultimately whether a CO- or a NCO-producing pathway is followed.
Abasic (AP) sites are potent blocks to DNA and RNA polymerases, and their repair is essential for maintaining genome integrity. Although AP sites are efficiently dealt with through the base excision repair (BER) pathway, genetic studies suggest that repair also can occur via nucleotide excision repair (NER). The involvement of NER in AP-site removal has been puzzling, however, as this pathway is thought to target only bulky lesions. Here, we examine the repair of AP sites generated when uracil is removed from a highly transcribed gene in yeast. Because uracil is incorporated instead of thymine under these conditions, the position of the resulting AP site is known. Results demonstrate that only AP sites on the transcribed strand are efficient substrates for NER, suggesting the recruitment of the NER machinery by an AP-blocked RNA polymerase. Such transcription-coupled NER of AP sites may explain previously suggested links between the BER pathway and transcription.
Accurate estimates of mutation rates provide critical information to analyze genome evolution and organism fitness. We used whole-genome DNA sequencing, pulse-field gel electrophoresis, and comparative genome hybridization to determine mutation rates in diploid vegetative and meiotic mutation accumulation lines of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The vegetative lines underwent only mitotic divisions while the meiotic lines underwent a meiotic cycle every ∼20 vegetative divisions. Similar base substitution rates were estimated for both lines. Given our experimental design, these measures indicated that the meiotic mutation rate is within the range of being equal to zero to being 55-fold higher than the vegetative rate. Mutations detected in vegetative lines were all heterozygous while those in meiotic lines were homozygous. A quantitative analysis of intra-tetrad mating events in the meiotic lines showed that inter-spore mating is primarily responsible for rapidly fixing mutations to homozygosity as well as for removing mutations. We did not observe 1–2 nt insertion/deletion (in-del) mutations in any of the sequenced lines and only one structural variant in a non-telomeric location was found. However, a large number of structural variations in subtelomeric sequences were seen in both vegetative and meiotic lines that did not affect viability. Our results indicate that the diploid yeast nuclear genome is remarkably stable during the vegetative and meiotic cell cycles and support the hypothesis that peripheral regions of chromosomes are more dynamic than gene-rich central sections where structural rearrangements could be deleterious. This work also provides an improved estimate for the mutational load carried by diploid organisms.
Mutations result from errors that occur during DNA metabolism. They provide the raw materials for evolution, can affect organism fitness, and have been shown to accumulate in organisms during asexual growth. During a sexual life cycle, mutations can be removed by recombination and mating. While such removal is thought to provide a fitness advantage, studies have shown that recombination itself is mutagenic. To examine if the mutation rate in an organism differs during asexual and sexual cycles, we sequenced the entire nuclear genome of lines of diploid baker's yeast that underwent only asexual growth, or alternating cycles of asexual and sexual growth. The estimated rate of base substitutions in the vegetative lines was extremely low (2.9×10−10 base substitutions per base per cell generation) and the meiotic mutation rate is within the range of being equal to zero to being 55 times higher than the vegetative rate. Interestingly, we observed a large number of changes in the ends of chromosomes in the asexual and sexual cycles that did not affect fitness; changes at other locations were very rare, suggesting a remarkable genome stability of diploid baker's yeast.
Reactive oxygen species are ubiquitous mutagens that have been linked to both disease and aging. The most studied oxidative lesion is 7,8-dihydro-8-oxoguanine (GO), which is often miscoded during DNA replication, resulting specifically in GC → TA transversions. In yeast, the mismatch repair (MMR) system repairs GO·A mismatches generated during DNA replication, and the polymerase η (Polη) translesion synthesis DNA polymerase additionally promotes error-free bypass of GO lesions. It has been suggested that Polη limits GO-associated mutagenesis exclusively through its participation in the filling of MMR-generated gaps that contain GO lesions. In the experiments reported here, the SUP4-o forward-mutation assay was used to monitor GC → TA mutation rates in strains defective in MMR (Msh2 or Msh6) and/or in Polη activity. The results clearly demonstrate that Polη can function independently of the MMR system to prevent GO-associated mutations, presumably through preferential insertion of cytosine opposite replication-blocking GO lesions. Furthermore, the Polη-dependent bypass of GO lesions is more efficient on the lagging strand of replication and requires an interaction with proliferating cell nuclear antigen. These studies establish a new paradigm for the prevention of GO-associated mutagenesis in eukaryotes.
Highly-activated transcription is associated with eukaryotic genome instability, resulting in elevated rates of mitotic recombination and mutagenesis. The association between high transcription and genome stability is likely due to a variety of factors including an enhanced accumulation of DNA damage, transcription-associated supercoiling, collision between replication forks and the transcription machinery, and the persistence of RNA-DNA hybrids 1. In the case of transcription-associated mutagenesis (TAM), we previously showed that there is a direct proportionality between the level of transcription and the mutation rate in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae2, and that the molecular nature of mutations is affected by highly-activated transcription 2
3. In the work presented here, we find that the accumulation of apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) sites is greatly enhanced in highly-transcribed yeast DNA. We further demonstrate that most AP sites in highly-transcribed DNA are derived from the removal of uracil, the presence of which is linked to direct incorporation of dUTP in place of dTTP. These results reveal an unexpected relationship between transcription and the fidelity of DNA synthesis, and raise intriguing cell biological issues with regard to nucleotide pool compartmentalization.
A high level of transcription has been associated with elevated spontaneous mutation and recombination rates in eukaryotic organisms. To determine whether the transcription level is directly correlated with the degree of genomic instability, we have developed a tetracycline-regulated LYS2 reporter system to modulate the transcription level over a broad range in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We find that spontaneous mutation rate is directly proportional to the transcription level, suggesting that movement of RNA polymerase through the target initiates a mutagenic process(es). Using this system, we also investigated two hypotheses that have been proposed to explain transcription-associated mutagenesis (TAM): 1) transcription impairs replication fork progression in a directional manner and 2) DNA lesions accumulate under high-transcription conditions. The effect of replication fork progression was probed by comparing the mutational rates and spectra in yeast strains with the reporter gene placed in two different orientations near a well-characterized replication origin. The effect of endogenous DNA damage accumulation was investigated by studying TAM in strains defective in nucleotide excision repair or in lesion bypass by the translesion polymerase Polζ. Our results suggest that both replication orientation and endogenous lesion accumulation play significant roles in TAM, particularly in terms of mutation spectra.
spontaneous mutagenesis; transcription; replication direction; polymerase zeta; mutation spectrum
The Polζ translesion synthesis (TLS) DNA polymerase is responsible for over 50% of spontaneous mutagenesis and virtually all damage-induced mutagenesis in yeast. We previously demonstrated that reversion of the lys2ΔA746 −1 frameshift allele detects a novel type of +1 frameshift that is accompanied by one or more base substitutions and depends completely on the activity of Polζ. These ‘complex’ frameshifts accumulate at two discrete hotspots (HS1 and HS2) in the absence of nucleotide excision repair, and accumulate at a third location (HS3) in the additional absence of the translesion polymerase Polη. The current study investigates the sequence requirements for accumulation of Polζ-dependent complex frameshifts at these hotspots. We observed that transposing 13 bp of identity from HS1 or HS3 to a new location within LYS2 was sufficient to recapitulate these hotspots. In addition, altering the sequence immediately upstream of HS2 had no effect on the activity of the hotspot. These data support a model in which misincorporation opposite a lesion precedes and facilitates the selected slippage event. Finally, analysis of nonsense mutation revertants indicates that Polζ can simultaneously introduce multiple base substitutions in the absence of an accompanying frameshift event.
Null mutations in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes elevate both base substitutions and insertions/deletions in simple sequence repeats. Data suggest that during replication of simple repeat sequences, polymerase slippage can generate single-strand loops on either the primer or template strand that are subsequently processed by the MMR machinery to prevent insertions and deletions, respectively. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and mammalian cells, MMR appears to be more efficient at repairing mispairs comprised of loops on the template strand compared to loops on the primer strand. We identified two novel yeast pms1 alleles, pms1-G882E and pms1-H888R, which confer a strong defect in the repair of “primer strand” loops, while maintaining efficient repair of “template strand” loops. Furthermore, these alleles appear to affect equally the repair of 1-nucleotide primer strand loops during both leading- and lagging-strand replication. Interestingly, both pms1 mutants are proficient in the repair of 1-nucleotide loop mispairs in heteroduplex DNA generated during meiotic recombination. Our results suggest that the inherent inefficiency of primer strand loop repair is not simply a mismatch recognition problem but also involves Pms1 and other proteins that are presumed to function downstream of mismatch recognition, such as Mlh1. In addition, the findings reinforce the current view that during mutation avoidance, MMR is associated with the replication apparatus.
2-Deoxyribonolactone (L) and 2-deoxyribose (AP) are abasic sites that are produced by ionizing radiation, reactive oxygen species and a variety of DNA damaging agents. The biological processing of the AP site has been examined in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, nothing is known about how L is processed in this organism. We determined the bypass and mutagenic specificity of DNA containing an abasic site (AP and L) or the AP analog tetrahydrofuran (F) using an oligonucleotide transformation assay. The tetrahydrofuran analog and L were bypassed at 10-fold higher frequencies than the AP lesions. Bypass frequencies of lesions were greatly reduced in the absence of Rev1 or Polζ (rev3 mutant), but were only marginally reduced in the absence of Polη (rad30 mutant). Deoxycytidine was the preferred nucleotide inserted opposite an AP site whereas dA and dC were inserted at equal frequencies opposite F and L sites. In the rev1 and rev3 strains, dA was the predominant nucleotide inserted opposite these lesions. Overall, we conclude that both Rev1 and Polζ are required for the efficient bypass of abasic sites in yeast.
High levels of transcription are associated with increased mutation rates in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a phenomenon termed transcription-associated mutation (TAM). To obtain insight into the mechanism of TAM, we obtained LYS2 forward mutation spectra under low- versus high-transcription conditions in which LYS2 was expressed from either the low-level pLYS2 promoter or the strong pGAL1-10 promoter, respectively. Because of the large size of the LYS2 locus, forward mutations first were mapped to specific LYS2 subregions, and then those mutations that occurred within a defined 736-bp target region were sequenced. In the low-transcription strain base substitutions comprised the majority (64%) of mutations, whereas short insertion-deletion mutations predominated (56%) in the high-transcription strain. Most notably, deletions of 2 nucleotides (nt) comprised 21% of the mutations in the high-transcription strain, and these events occurred predominantly at 5′-(G/C)AAA-3′ sites. No −2 events were present in the low-transcription spectrum, thus identifying 2-nt deletions as a unique mutational signature for TAM.
The postreplicative mismatch repair (MMR) system is important for removing mutational intermediates that are generated during DNA replication, especially those that arise as a result of DNA polymerase slippage in simple repeats. Here, we use a forward mutation assay to systematically examine the accumulation of frameshift mutations within mononucleotide runs of variable composition in wild-type and MMR-defective yeast strains. These studies demonstrate that (i) DNA polymerase slippage occurs more often in 10-cytosine/10-guanine (10C/10G) runs than in 10-adenine/10-thymine (10A/10T) runs, (ii) the MMR system removes frameshift intermediates in 10A/10T runs more efficiently than in 10C/10G runs, (iii) the MMR system removes −1 frameshift intermediates more efficiently than +1 intermediates in all 10-nucleotide runs, and (iv) the repair specificities of the Msh2p-Msh3p and Msh2p-Msh6p mismatch recognition complexes with respect to 1-nucleotide insertion/deletion loops vary dramatically as a function of run composition. These observations are relevant to issues of genome stability, with both the rates and types of mutations that accumulate in mononucleotide runs being influenced by the primary sequence of the run as well as by the status of the MMR system.
The impact of high levels of RNA polymerase II transcription on mitotic recombination was examined using lys2 recombination substrates positioned on nonhomologous chromosomes. Substrates were used that could produce Lys+ recombinants by either a simple (noncrossover) gene conversion event or a crossover-associated recombination event, by only a simple gene conversion event, or by only a crossover event. Transcription of the lys2 substrates was regulated by the highly inducible GAL1-10 promoter or the low-level LYS2 promoter, with GAL1-10 promoter activity being controlled by the presence or absence of the Gal80p negative regulatory protein. Transcription was found to stimulate recombination in all assays used, but the level of stimulation varied depending on whether only one or both substrates were highly transcribed. In addition, there was an asymmetry in the types of recombination events observed when one substrate versus the other was highly transcribed. Finally, the lys2 substrates were positioned as direct repeats on the same chromosome and were found to exhibit a different recombinational response to high levels of transcription from that exhibited by the repeats on nonhomologous chromosomes. The relevance of these results to the mechanisms of transcription-associated recombination are discussed.
Frameshift mutations occur when the coding region of a gene is altered by addition or deletion of a number of base pairs that is not a multiple of three. The occurrence of a deletion versus an insertion type of frameshift depends on the nature of the transient intermediate structure formed during DNA synthesis. Extrahelical bases on the template strand give rise to deletions, whereas extrahelical bases on the strand being synthesized produce insertions. We previously used reversion of a +1 frameshift mutation to analyze the role of the mismatch repair (MMR) machinery in correcting −1 frameshift intermediates within a defined region of the yeast LYS2 gene. In this study, we have used reversion of a −1 frameshift mutation within the same region of LYS2 to analyze the role of the MMR machinery in the correction of frameshift intermediates that give rise to insertion events. We found that insertion and deletion events occur at similar rates but that the reversion spectra are very different in both the wild-type and MMR-defective backgrounds. In addition, analysis of the +1 spectra revealed novel roles for Msh3p and Msh6p in removing specific types of frameshift intermediates.