Overexpression of Rad51 inhibits double-strand break-induced homologous recombination but does not affect gene conversion tract lengths

DNA Repair (Amst). 2005 Jun 8;4(6):687-98. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2005.03.003.


DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in yeast are repaired by homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ). Rad51 forms nucleoprotein filaments at processed broken ends that effect strand exchange, forming heteroduplex DNA (hDNA) that gives rise to a gene conversion tract. We hypothesized that excess Rad51 would increase gene conversion tract lengths. We found that excess Rad51 reduced DSB-induced HR but did not alter tract lengths or other outcomes including rates of crossovers, break-induced replication, or chromosome loss. Thus, excess Rad51 appears to influence DSB-induced HR at an early stage. MAT heterozygosity largely mitigated the inhibitory effect of excess Rad51 on allelic HR, but not direct repeat HR. Excess Rad52 had no effect on DSB-induced HR efficiency or outcome, nor did it mitigate the dominant negative effects of excess Rad51. Excess Rad51 had little effect on DSB-induced lethality in wild-type cells, but it did enhance lethality in yku70Delta mutants. Interestingly, dnl4Delta showed marked DSB-induced lethality but this was not further enhanced by excess Rad51. The differential effects of yku70Delta and dnl4Delta indicate that the enhanced killing with excess Rad51 in yku70Delta is not due to its NHEJ defect, but may reflect its defect in end-protection and/or its inability to escape from checkpoint arrest. Srs2 displaces Rad51 from nucleoprotein filaments in vitro, suggesting that excess Rad51 might antagonize Srs2. We show that excess Rad51 does not reduce survival of wild-type cells treated with methylmethane sulfonate (MMS), or cells suffering a single DSB. In contrast, excess Rad51 sensitized srs2Delta cells to both MMS and a single DSB. These results support the idea that excess Rad51 antagonizes Srs2, and underscores the importance of displacing Rad51 from nucleoprotein filaments to achieve optimum repair efficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Survival
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Helicases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • DNA Helicases / genetics
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Conversion*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Genomic Instability
  • Methyl Methanesulfonate / pharmacology
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutagens / pharmacology
  • Mutation
  • Rad51 Recombinase
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / drug effects
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / growth & development
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics


  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Mutagens
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • SRS2 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Methyl Methanesulfonate
  • RAD51 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Rad51 Recombinase
  • DNA Helicases