Most mitotic recombination and repair genes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae show no specificity of action for the genome ploidy. We describe here a novel repair and recombination gene that is specific for recombination and repair between homologous chromosomes. The RDH54 gene is homologous to the RAD54 gene, but rdh54 mutants do not show sensitivity to methyl methanesulfonate at concentrations that sensitize a rad54 mutant. However, the rdh54 null mutation enhances the methyl methanesulfonate sensitivity of a rad54 mutant and single rdh54 mutants are sensitive to prolonged exposure at high concentrations of methyl methanesulfonate. The RDH54 gene is required for recombination, but only in a diploid. We present evidence showing that the RDH54 gene is required for interhomologue gene conversion but not intrachromosomal gene conversion. The rdh54 mutation confers diploid-specific lethalities and reduced growth in various mutant backgrounds. These phenotypes are due to attempted recombination. The RDH54 gene is also required for meiosis as homozygous mutant diploids show very poor sporulation and reduced spore viability. The role of the RDH54 gene in mitotic repair and in meiosis and the pathway in which it acts are discussed.
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