Thousands of DNA breaks occur daily in mammalian cells, including potentially tumorigenic double-strand breaks (DSBs) and less dangerous but vastly more abundant single-strand breaks (SSBs). The majority of SSBs are quickly repaired, but some can be converted to DSBs, posing a threat to the integrity of the genome. Although SSBs are usually repaired by dedicated pathways, they can also trigger homologous recombination (HR), an error-free pathway generally associated with DSB repair. While HR-mediated DSB repair has been extensively studied, the mechanisms of HR-mediated SSB repair are less clear. This chapter describes a protocol to investigate SSB-induced HR in mammalian cells employing the DR-GFP reporter, which has been widely used in DSB repair studies, together with an adapted bacterial CRISPR/Cas system.
Keywords: CRISPR/Cas; Cas9; DNA nicks; DNA repair; DR-GFP reporter; Homologous recombination; Single-strand breaks.