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Rad51 Accumulation at Sites of DNA Damage and in Postreplicative Chromatin

The Journal of Cell Biology
The Rockefeller University Press
Publication Date
  • Original Article
  • Mathematics
  • Physics


Rad51, a eukaryotic RecA homologue, plays a central role in homologous recombinational repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in yeast and is conserved from yeast to human. Rad51 shows punctuate nuclear localization in human cells, called Rad51 foci, typically during the S phase (Tashiro, S., N. Kotomura, A. Shinohara, K. Tanaka, K. Ueda, and N. Kamada. 1996. Oncogene. 12:2165–2170). However, the topological relationships that exist in human S phase nuclei between Rad51 foci and damaged chromatin have not been studied thus far. Here, we report on ultraviolet microirradiation experiments of small nuclear areas and on whole cell ultraviolet C (UVC) irradiation experiments performed with a human fibroblast cell line. Before UV irradiation, nuclear DNA was sensitized by the incorporation of halogenated thymidine analogues. These experiments demonstrate the redistribution of Rad51 to the selectively damaged, labeled chromatin. Rad51 recruitment takes place from Rad51 foci scattered throughout the nucleus of nonirradiated cells in S phase. We also demonstrate the preferential association of Rad51 foci with postreplicative chromatin in contrast to replicating chromatin using a double labeling procedure with halogenated thymidine analogues. This finding supports a role of Rad51 in recombinational repair processes of DNA damage present in postreplicative chromatin.

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