RNase H genes cause distinct impacts on RNA:DNA hybrid formation and mutagenesis genome-wide

bioRxiv. 2023 May 8;2023.05.08.539860. doi: 10.1101/2023.05.08.539860. Preprint


RNA:DNA hybrids such as R-loops affect genome integrity and DNA replication fork progression. The overall impacts of naturally occurring RNA:DNA hybrids on genome integrity, and the relative contributions of ribonucleases H to mitigating the negative effects of hybrids, remain unknown. Here, we investigate the contributions of RNases HII (RnhB) and HIII (RnhC) to hybrid removal, DNA replication, and mutagenesis genome-wide. Deletion of either rnhB or rnhC triggers RNA:DNA hybrid accumulation, but with distinct patterns of mutagenesis and hybrid accumulation. Across all cells, hybrids accumulate most strongly in non-coding RNAs and 5'-UTRs of coding sequences. For Δ rnhB , hybrids accumulate preferentially in untranslated regions and early in coding sequences. Hybrid accumulation is particularly sensitive to gene expression in Δ rnhC ; in cells lacking RnhC, DNA replication is disrupted leading to transversions and structural variation. Our results resolve the outstanding question of how hybrids in native genomic contexts interact with replication to cause mutagenesis and shape genome organization.

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  • Preprint