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The DNA Damage Response Pathway Contributes to the Stability of Chromosome III Derivatives Lacking Efficient Replicators

PLoS Genetics
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1001227
  • Research Article
  • Genetics And Genomics/Chromosome Biology
  • Genetics And Genomics/Gene Function
  • Genetics And Genomics/Genome Projects
  • Molecular Biology/Chromosome Structure
  • Molecular Biology/Dna Repair
  • Molecular Biology/Dna Replication
  • Molecular Biology/Recombination
  • Biology


In eukaryotic chromosomes, DNA replication initiates at multiple origins. Large inter-origin gaps arise when several adjacent origins fail to fire. Little is known about how cells cope with this situation. We created a derivative of Saccharomyces cerevisiae chromosome III lacking all efficient origins, the 5ORIΔ-ΔR fragment, as a model for chromosomes with large inter-origin gaps. We used this construct in a modified synthetic genetic array screen to identify genes whose products facilitate replication of long inter-origin gaps. Genes identified are enriched in components of the DNA damage and replication stress signaling pathways. Mrc1p is activated by replication stress and mediates transduction of the replication stress signal to downstream proteins; however, the response-defective mrc1AQ allele did not affect 5ORIΔ-ΔR fragment maintenance, indicating that this pathway does not contribute to its stability. Deletions of genes encoding the DNA-damage-specific mediator, Rad9p, and several components shared between the two signaling pathways preferentially destabilized the 5ORIΔ-ΔR fragment, implicating the DNA damage response pathway in its maintenance. We found unexpected differences between contributions of components of the DNA damage response pathway to maintenance of ORIΔ chromosome derivatives and their contributions to DNA repair. Of the effector kinases encoded by RAD53 and CHK1, Chk1p appears to be more important in wild-type cells for reducing chromosomal instability caused by origin depletion, while Rad53p becomes important in the absence of Chk1p. In contrast, RAD53 plays a more important role than CHK1 in cell survival and replication fork stability following treatment with DNA damaging agents and hydroxyurea. Maintenance of ORIΔ chromosomes does not depend on homologous recombination. These observations suggest that a DNA-damage-independent mechanism enhances ORIΔ chromosome stability. Thus, components of the DNA damage response pathway contribute to genome stability, not simply by detecting and responding to DNA template damage, but also by facilitating replication of large inter-origin gaps.

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