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Reference: Cederberg H and Rannug U (2006) Mechanisms of human minisatellite mutation in yeast. Mutat Res 598(1-2):132-43

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Abstract


Minisatellites are tandem repeat loci, with repeat units ranging in size from 5bp to 100bp. The total lengths of repeat arrays vary from about 0.5kb to 30kb, and excessive variability in allele length at human minisatellite loci is the result of germline-specific complex recombination events generating new length alleles. Minisatellite alleles also mutate to new lengths in somatic cells, but this occurs at a much lower rate than in the germline. Since recombination is involved in minisatellite mutation, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a suitable model organism that has been employed to further dissect the molecular basis of mutation events at human minisatellites. These studies have shown that the mutational behaviour of a minisatellite in meiosis is not determined by the intrinsic properties of the repeat array, but are highly dependent on the position of the minisatellite in the genome. The processes for minisatellite mutation in yeast and humans are identical in the sense that mutation is indeed driven by meiotic recombination, but differ with regard to the types of structural changes that are generated by the recombination events. Tetrad analyses showed that inter-allelic transfers of repeats occur by conversion and not crossing over, and that several chromatids can be involved in successive recombination events in one meiosis, resulting in mutant alleles in several spores. It has been demonstrated that the genes SPO11 and RAD50, involved in the initiation of recombination events, are required for human minisatellite mutation in yeast meiosis. Intrinsic properties of the repeat array appear to determine the stability of human minisatellites in yeast mitosis, since mitotic mutation rates in yeast are highly variable between minisatellites. The repair genes RAD27 and DNA2 stabilise human minisatellites in yeast mitosis, while RAD5 has no effect on mitotic stability. MSH2 depresses human minisatellite frequency in meiotic cells of yeast.

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Journal Article
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Cederberg H, Rannug U
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