The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sgs1 protein is a member of the RecQ family of DNA helicases and is required for genome stability, but not cell viability. To identify proteins that function in the absence of Sgs1, a synthetic-lethal screen was performed. We obtained mutations in six complementation groups that we refer to as SLX genes. Most of the SLX genes encode uncharacterized open reading frames that are conserved in other species. None of these genes is required for viability and all SLX null mutations are synthetically lethal with mutations in TOP3, encoding the SGS1-interacting DNA topoisomerase. Analysis of the null mutants identified a pair of genes in each of three phenotypic classes. Mutations in MMS4 (SLX2) and SLX3 generate identical phenotypes, including weak UV and strong MMS hypersensitivity, complete loss of sporulation, and synthetic growth defects with mutations in TOP1. Mms4 and Slx3 proteins coimmunoprecipitate from cell extracts, suggesting that they function in a complex. Mutations in SLX5 and SLX8 generate hydroxyurea sensitivity, reduced sporulation efficiency, and a slow-growth phenotype characterized by heterogeneous colony morphology. The Slx5 and Slx8 proteins contain RING finger domains and coimmunoprecipitate from cell extracts. The SLX1 and SLX4 genes are required for viability in the presence of an sgs1 temperature-sensitive allele at the restrictive temperature and Slx1 and Slx4 proteins are similarly associated in cell extracts. We propose that the MMS4/SLX3, SLX5/8, and SLX1/4 gene pairs encode heterodimeric complexes and speculate that these complexes are required to resolve recombination intermediates that arise in response to DNA damage, during meiosis, and in the absence of SGS1/TOP3.
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