Homologous Recombination is a Primary Pathway to Repair DNA Double-Strand Breaks Generated During DNA Rereplication [DNA and Chromosomes]

August 26th, 2014 by Truong, L. N., Li, Y., Sun, E., Ang, K., Hwang, P. Y.-H., Wu, X.

Re-initiation of DNA replication at origins within a given cell cycle would result in DNA rereplication, which can lead to genome instability and tumorigenesis. DNA rereplication can be induced by loss of licensing control at cellular replication origins, or by viral protein-driven multiple rounds of replication initiation at viral origins. DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are generated during rereplication, but the mechanisms of how these DSBs are repaired to maintain genome stability and cell viability are poorly understood in mammalian cells. We generated novel EGFP-based DSB repair substrates which specifically monitor the repair of rereplication-associated DSBs. We demonstrated that HR is an important mechanism to repair rereplication-associated DSBs, and sister chromatids are used as templates for such HR-mediated DSB repair. Micro-homology-mediated non-homologous end joining (MMEJ) can also be used but to a lesser extent compared to HR, whereas Ku-dependent classical non-homologous end joining (C-NHEJ) has a minimal role to repair rereplication-associated DSBs. In addition, loss of HR activity leads to severe cell death when rereplication is induced. Therefore, our studies identify HR, the most conservative repair pathway, as the primary mechanism to repair DSBs upon rereplication.