Double-stranded break (DSB) repair during meiotic recombination in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae leads to the formation of heteroduplex DNA, a hybrid DNA molecule composed of single strands from two homologous chromosomes. Differences in sequence between the strands within heteroduplex DNA generate mismatches or large unpaired loops that are substrates for repair. At least two pathways function to repair large loops that form within heteroduplex DNA: the RAD1-dependent large loop repair (LLR) pathway and another as yet uncharacterized RAD1-independent LLR pathway. Repair of large loops during meiotic recombination is especially important for the genomic stability of the repetitive DNA sequences known as minisatellites. Minisatellite DNA tracts are generally stable during mitotic cell divisions but frequently alter in length during meiosis. Using a yeast minisatellite system in which the human minisatellite associated with the HRAS1 proto-oncogene has been inserted into the recombination hotspot region upstream of HIS4 in S. cerevisiae, our lab previously showed that the RAD1-dependent LLR pathway controls minisatellite length expansions, but not contractions. Here we show that minisatellite length expansions are controlled by the products of the CSM3 and TOF1 genes, while contractions are controlled by MRC1. By examining meiotic segregation patterns in yeast strains heterozygous for the 26bp his4-lopd insert, we found that deleting CSM3 caused a loss of LLR activity similar to that seen in a RAD1 mutant. Double mutant analysis revealed that failure to repair loops is exacerbated upon deleting both RAD1 and CSM3 - specifically the type of repair that fills in loops, which would generate minisatellite length expansions. A model for minisatellite length alteration based on these results is presented.
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