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Articles by Adam Bailis in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Quantitation and Analysis of the Formation of HO-Endonuclease Stimulated Chromosomal Translocations by Single-Strand Annealing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

1Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences, 2Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center and Beckman Research Institute, 3Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern California, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center


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The HO-stimulated translocation assay monitors single-strand annealing following the creation of DNA double-strand breaks at multiple loci in diploid Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This mechanism may model genome rearrangements in somatic cells of higher eukaryotes following exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation.

Other articles by Adam Bailis on PubMed

Nucleotide Excision Repair, Genome Stability, and Human Disease: New Insight from Model Systems

Nucleotide excision repair (NER) is one of several DNA repair pathways that are universal throughout phylogeny. NER has a broad substrate specificity and is capable of removing several classes of lesions to the DNA, including those that accumulate upon exposure to UV radiation. The loss of this activity in NER-defective mutants gives rise to characteristic sensitivities to UV that, in humans, is manifested as a greatly elevated sensitivity to exposure to the sun. Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), Cockaynes syndrome (CS), and trichothiodystrophy (TTD) are three, rare, recessively inherited human diseases that are linked to these defects. Interestingly, some of the symptoms in afflicted individuals appear to be due to defects in transcription, the result of the dual functionality of several components of the NER apparatus as parts of transcription factor IIH (TFIIH). Studies with several model systems have revealed that the genetic and biochemical features of NER are extraordinarily conserved in eukaryotes. One system that has been studied very closely is the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. While many yeast NER mutants display the expected increases in UV sensitivity and defective transcription, other interesting phenotypes have also been observed. Elevated mutation and recombination rates, as well as increased frequencies of genome rearrangement by retrotransposon movement and recombination between short genomic sequences have been documented. The potential relevance of these novel phenotypes to disease in humans is discussed.

Multiple Pathways Promote Short-sequence Recombination in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, null alleles of several DNA repair and recombination genes confer defects in recombination that grow more severe with decreasing sequence length, indicating that they are required for short-sequence recombination (SSR). RAD1 and RAD10, which encode the subunits of the structure-specific endonuclease Rad1/10, are critical for SSR. MRE11, RAD50, and XRS2, which encode the subunits of M/R/X, another complex with nuclease activity, are also crucially important. Genetic evidence suggests that Rad1/10 and M/R/X act on the same class of substrates during SSR. MSH2 and MSH3, which encode subunits of Msh2/3, a complex active during mismatch repair and recombination, are also important for SSR but play a more restricted role. Additional evidence suggests that SSR is distinct from nonhomologous end joining and is superimposed upon basal homologous recombination.

DNA Fragment Transplacement in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae: Some Genetic Considerations

The ability to make specific genomic alterations is an invaluable tool to researchers who use genetics and biochemistry to study problems in biology. We have investigated some of the parameters governing DNA fragment transplacement in two commonly used strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, S288C and W303-1A. These strains exhibited a marked difference in their capacity to take up plasmid DNA and utilize linear DNA fragments as substrates for transplacement. The contributions of transformation efficiency, length of homology, and alternative target site configuration were assessed. This analysis indicates that several genetic parameters are important for optimizing the efficiency of gene transplacement.

A Mutant Allele of the Transcription Factor IIH Helicase Gene, RAD3, Promotes Loss of Heterozygosity in Response to a DNA Replication Defect in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Increased mitotic recombination enhances the risk for loss of heterozygosity, which contributes to the generation of cancer in humans. Defective DNA replication can result in elevated levels of recombination as well as mutagenesis and chromosome loss. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a null allele of the RAD27 gene, which encodes a structure-specific nuclease involved in Okazaki fragment processing, stimulates mutation and homologous recombination. Similarly, rad3-102, an allele of the gene RAD3, which encodes an essential helicase subunit of the core TFIIH transcription initiation and DNA repairosome complexes confers a hyper-recombinagenic and hypermutagenic phenotype. Combining the rad27 null allele with rad3-102 dramatically stimulated interhomolog recombination and chromosome loss but did not affect unequal sister-chromatid recombination, direct-repeat recombination, or mutation. Interestingly, the percentage of cells with Rad52-YFP foci also increased in the double-mutant haploids, suggesting that rad3-102 may increase lesions that elicit a response by the recombination machinery or, alternatively, stabilize recombinagenic lesions generated by DNA replication failure. This net increase in lesions led to a synthetic growth defect in haploids that is relieved in diploids, consistent with rad3-102 stimulating the generation and rescue of collapsed replication forks by recombination between homologs.

Telomere Dysfunction Drives Increased Mutation by Error-prone Polymerases Rev1 and Zeta in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Using a model system, we have shown that replicative senescence is accompanied by a 16-fold increase in base substitution and frameshift mutations near a chromosome end. The increase was dependent on error-prone polymerases required for the mutagenic response to DNA lesions that block the replication fork.

Telomerase Deficiency Affects the Formation of Chromosomal Translocations by Homologous Recombination in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein complex required for the replication and protection of telomeric DNA in eukaryotes. Cells lacking telomerase undergo a progressive loss of telomeric DNA that results in loss of viability and a concomitant increase in genome instability. We have used budding yeast to investigate the relationship between telomerase deficiency and the generation of chromosomal translocations, a common characteristic of cancer cells. Telomerase deficiency increased the rate of formation of spontaneous translocations by homologous recombination involving telomere proximal sequences during crisis. However, telomerase deficiency also decreased the frequency of translocation formation following multiple HO-endonuclease catalyzed DNA double-strand breaks at telomere proximal or distal sequences before, during and after crisis. This decrease correlated with a sequestration of the central homologous recombination factor, Rad52, to telomeres determined by chromatin immuno-precipitation. This suggests that telomerase deficiency results in the sequestration of Rad52 to telomeres, limiting the capacity of the cell to repair double-strand breaks throughout the genome. Increased spontaneous translocation formation in telomerase-deficient yeast cells undergoing crisis is consistent with the increased incidence of cancer in elderly humans, as the majority of our cells lack telomerase. Decreased translocation formation by recombinational repair of double-strand breaks in telomerase-deficient yeast suggests that the reemergence of telomerase expression observed in many human tumors may further stimulate genome rearrangement. Thus, telomerase may exert a substantial effect on global genome stability, which may bear significantly on the appearance and progression of cancer in humans.

Mutagenic and Recombinagenic Responses to Defective DNA Polymerase Delta Are Facilitated by the Rev1 Protein in Pol3-t Mutants of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Defective DNA replication can result in substantial increases in the level of genome instability. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the pol3-t allele confers a defect in the catalytic subunit of replicative DNA polymerase delta that results in increased rates of mutagenesis, recombination, and chromosome loss, perhaps by increasing the rate of replicative polymerase failure. The translesion polymerases Pol eta, Pol zeta, and Rev1 are part of a suite of factors in yeast that can act at sites of replicative polymerase failure. While mutants defective in the translesion polymerases alone displayed few defects, loss of Rev1 was found to suppress the increased rates of spontaneous mutation, recombination, and chromosome loss observed in pol3-t mutants. These results suggest that Rev1 may be involved in facilitating mutagenic and recombinagenic responses to the failure of Pol delta. Genome stability, therefore, may reflect a dynamic relationship between primary and auxiliary DNA polymerases.

Mating Type Influences Chromosome Loss and Replicative Senescence in Telomerase-deficient Budding Yeast by Dnl4-dependent Telomere Fusion

As we age, the majority of our cells gradually lose the capacity to divide because of replicative senescence that results from the inability to replicate the ends of chromosomes. The timing of senescence is dependent on the length of telomeric DNA, which elicits a checkpoint signal when critically short. Critically short telomeres also become vulnerable to deleterious rearrangements, end-degradation and telomere-telomere fusions. Here we report a novel role of non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ), a pathway of double-strand break repair in influencing both the kinetics of replicative senescence and the rate of chromosome loss in telomerase-deficient Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In telomerase-deficient cells, the absence of NHEJ delays replicative senescence, decreases loss of viability during senescence, and suppresses senescence-associated chromosome loss and telomere-telomere fusion. Differences in mating-type gene expression in haploid and diploid cells affect NHEJ function, resulting in distinct kinetics of replicative senescence. These results suggest that the differences in the kinetics of replicative senescence in haploid and diploid telomerase-deficient yeast are determined by changes in NHEJ-dependent telomere fusion, perhaps through the initiation of the breakage-fusion-bridge cycle.

RAD59 is Required for Efficient Repair of Simultaneous Double-strand Breaks Resulting in Translocations in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Exposure to ionizing radiation results in a variety of genome rearrangements that have been linked to tumor formation. Many of these rearrangements are thought to arise from the repair of double-strand breaks (DSBs) by several mechanisms, including homologous recombination (HR) between repetitive sequences dispersed throughout the genome. Doses of radiation sufficient to create DSBs in or near multiple repetitive elements simultaneously could initiate single-strand annealing (SSA), a highly efficient, though mutagenic, mode of DSB repair. We have investigated the genetic control of the formation of translocations that occur spontaneously and those that form after the generation of DSBs adjacent to homologous sequences on two, non-homologous chromosomes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We found that mutations in a variety of DNA repair genes have distinct effects on break-stimulated translocation. Furthermore, the genetic requirements for repair using 300bp and 60bp recombination substrates were different, suggesting that the SSA apparatus may be altered in response to changing substrate lengths. Notably, RAD59 was found to play a particularly significant role in recombination between the short substrates that was partially independent of that of RAD52. The high frequency of these events suggests that SSA may be an important mechanism of genome rearrangement following acute radiation exposure.

Msh2 Blocks an Alternative Mechanism for Non-homologous Tail Removal During Single-strand Annealing in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Chromosomal translocations are frequently observed in cells exposed to agents that cause DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), such as ionizing radiation and chemotherapeutic drugs, and are often associated with tumors in mammals. Recently, translocation formation in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been found to occur at high frequencies following the creation of multiple DSBs adjacent to repetitive sequences on non-homologous chromosomes. The genetic control of translocation formation and the chromosome complements of the clones that contain translocations suggest that translocation formation occurs by single-strand annealing (SSA). Among the factors important for translocation formation by SSA is the central mismatch repair (MMR) and homologous recombination (HR) factor, Msh2. Here we describe the effects of several msh2 missense mutations on translocation formation that suggest that Msh2 has separable functions in stabilizing annealed single strands, and removing non-homologous sequences from their ends. Additionally, interactions between the msh2 alleles and a null allele of RAD1, which encodes a subunit of a nuclease critical for the removal of non-homologous tails suggest that Msh2 blocks an alternative mechanism for removing these sequences. These results suggest that Msh2 plays multiple roles in the formation of chromosomal translocations following acute levels of DNA damage.

Rad51 Inhibits Translocation Formation by Non-conservative Homologous Recombination in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Chromosomal translocations are a primary biological response to ionizing radiation (IR) exposure, and are likely to result from the inappropriate repair of the DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) that are created. An abundance of repetitive sequences in eukaryotic genomes provides ample opportunity for such breaks to be repaired by homologous recombination (HR) between non-allelic repeats. Interestingly, in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae the central strand exchange protein, Rad51 that is required for DSB repair by gene conversion between unlinked repeats that conserves genomic structure also suppresses translocation formation by several HR mechanisms. In particular, Rad51 suppresses translocation formation by single-strand annealing (SSA), perhaps the most efficient mechanism for translocation formation by HR in both yeast and mammalian cells. Further, the enhanced translocation formation that emerges in the absence of Rad51 displays a distinct pattern of genetic control, suggesting that this occurs by a separate mechanism. Since hypomorphic mutations in RAD51 in mammalian cells also reduce DSB repair by conservative gene conversion and stimulate non-conservative repair by SSA, this mechanism may also operate in humans and, perhaps contribute to the genome instability that propels the development of cancer.

RAD59 and RAD1 Cooperate in Translocation Formation by Single-strand Annealing in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Studies in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, have demonstrated that a substantial fraction of double-strand break repair following acute radiation exposure involves homologous recombination between repetitive genomic elements. We have previously described an assay in S. cerevisiae that allows us to model how repair of multiple breaks leads to the formation of chromosomal translocations by single-strand annealing (SSA) and found that Rad59, a paralog of the single-stranded DNA annealing protein Rad52, is critically important in this process. We have constructed several rad59 missense alleles to study its function more closely. Characterization of these mutants revealed proportional defects in both translocation formation and spontaneous direct-repeat recombination, which is also thought to occur by SSA. Combining the rad59 missense alleles with a null allele of RAD1, which encodes a subunit of a nuclease required for the removal of non-homologous tails from annealed intermediates, substantially suppressed the low frequency of translocations observed in rad1-null single mutants. These data suggest that at least one role of Rad59 in translocation formation by SSA is supporting the machinery required for cleavage of non-homologous tails.

RAD51C Germline Mutations in Breast and Ovarian Cancer Cases from High-risk Families

BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the most well-known breast cancer susceptibility genes. Additional genes involved in DNA repair have been identified as predisposing to breast cancer. One such gene, RAD51C, is essential for homologous recombination repair. Several likely pathogenic RAD51C mutations have been identified in BRCA1- and BRCA2-negative breast and ovarian cancer families. We performed complete sequencing of RAD51C in germline DNA of 286 female breast and/or ovarian cancer cases with a family history of breast and ovarian cancers, who had previously tested negative for mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. We screened 133 breast cancer cases, 119 ovarian cancer cases, and 34 with both breast and ovarian cancers. Fifteen DNA sequence variants were identified; including four intronic, one 5' UTR, one promoter, three synonymous, and six non-synonymous variants. None were truncating. The in-silico SIFT and Polyphen programs were used to predict possible pathogenicity of the six non-synonomous variants based on sequence conservation. G153D and T287A were predicted to be likely pathogenic. Two additional variants, A126T and R214C alter amino acids in important domains of the protein such that they could be pathogenic. Two-hybrid screening and immunoblot analyses were performed to assess the functionality of these four non-synonomous variants in yeast. The RAD51C-G153D protein displayed no detectable interaction with either XRCC3 or RAD51B, and RAD51C-R214C displayed significantly decreased interaction with both XRCC3 and RAD51B (p<0.001). Immunoblots of RAD51C-Gal4 activation domain fusion peptides showed protein levels of RAD51C-G153D and RAD51C-R214C that were 50% and 60% of the wild-type, respectively. Based on these data, the RAD51C-G153D variant is likely to be pathogenic, while the RAD51C- R214C variant is hypomorphic of uncertain pathogenicity. These results provide further support that RAD51C is a rare breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene.

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