Recombination-restarted replication makes inverted chromosome fusions at inverted repeats

Nature. 2013 Jan 10;493(7431):246-9. doi: 10.1038/nature11676. Epub 2012 Nov 25.


Impediments to DNA replication are known to induce gross chromosomal rearrangements (GCRs) and copy-number variations (CNVs). GCRs and CNVs underlie human genomic disorders and are a feature of cancer. During cancer development, environmental factors and oncogene-driven proliferation promote replication stress. Resulting GCRs and CNVs are proposed to contribute to cancer development and therapy resistance. When stress arrests replication, the replisome remains associated with the fork DNA (stalled fork) and is protected by the inter-S-phase checkpoint. Stalled forks efficiently resume when the stress is relieved. However, if the polymerases dissociate from the fork (fork collapse) or the fork structure breaks (broken fork), replication restart can proceed either by homologous recombination or microhomology-primed re-initiation. Here we ascertain the consequences of replication with a fork restarted by homologous recombination in fission yeast. We identify a new mechanism of chromosomal rearrangement through the observation that recombination-restarted forks have a considerably high propensity to execute a U-turn at small inverted repeats (up to 1 in 40 replication events). We propose that the error-prone nature of restarted forks contributes to the generation of GCRs and gene amplification in cancer, and to non-recurrent CNVs in genomic disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Inversion / genetics*
  • DNA Copy Number Variations / genetics
  • DNA Replication / genetics*
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Genes, Fungal / genetics
  • Inverted Repeat Sequences / genetics*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Recombination, Genetic / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics*


  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA, Ribosomal