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Chromosome position determines the success of double-strand break repair


Repair of a chromosomal double-strand break (DSB) by gene conversion depends on the ability of the broken ends to encounter a donor sequence. To understand how chromosomal location of a target sequence affects DSB repair, we took advantage of genome-wide Hi-C analysis of yeast chromosomes to create a series of strains in which an induced site-specific DSB in budding yeast is repaired by a 2-kb donor sequence inserted at different locations. The efficiency of repair, measured by cell viability or competition between each donor and a reference site, showed a strong correlation (r = 0.85 and 0.79) with the contact frequencies of each donor with the DSB repair site. Repair efficiency depends on the distance between donor and recipient rather than any intrinsic limitation of a particular donor site. These results further demonstrate that the search for homology is the rate-limiting step in DSB repair and suggest that cells often fail to repair a DSB because they cannot locate a donor before other, apparently lethal, processes arise. The repair efficiency of a donor locus can be improved by four factors: slower 5' to 3' resection of the DSB ends, increased abundance of replication protein factor A (RPA), longer shared homology, or presence of a recombination enhancer element adjacent to a donor.

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