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Properties of natural double-strand-break sites at a recombination hotspot in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

The Genetics Society of America
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  • Research Article


This study addresses three questions about the properties of recombination hotspots in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: How much DNA is required for double-strand-break (DSB) site recognition? Do naturally occurring DSB sites compete with each other in meiotic recombination? What role does the sequence located at the sites of DSBs play? In S. cerevisiae, the HIS2 meiotic recombination hotspot displays a high level of gene conversion, a 3'-to-5' conversion gradient, and two DSB sites located approximately 550 bp apart. Previous studies of hotspots, including HIS2, suggest that global chromosome structure plays a significant role in recombination activity, raising the question of how much DNA is sufficient for hotspot activity. We find that 11.5 kbp of the HIS2 region is sufficient to partially restore gene conversion and both DSBs when moved to another yeast chromosome. Using a variety of different constructs, studies of hotspots have indicated that DSB sites compete with one another for DSB formation. The two naturally occurring DSBs at HIS2 afforded us the opportunity to examine whether or not competition occurs between these native DSB sites. Small deletions of DNA at each DSB site affect only that site; analyses of these deletions show no competition occurring in cis or in trans, indicating that DSB formation at each site at HIS2 is independent. These small deletions significantly affect the frequency of DSB formation at the sites, indicating that the DNA sequence located at a DSB site can play an important role in recombination initiation.

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