The Ty retrotransposons are the main family of dispersed repeated sequences in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These elements are flanked by a pair of long terminal direct repeats (LTRs). Previous experiments have shown that Ty elements recombine at low frequencies, despite the fact that they are present in 30 copies per genome. This frequency is not highly increased by treatments that cause DNA damage, such as UV irradiation. In this study, we show that it is possible to increase the recombination level of a genetically marked Ty by creating a double-strand break in it. This break is repaired by two competing mechanisms: one of them leaves a single LTR in place of the Ty, and the other is a gene conversion event in which the marked Ty is replaced by an ectopically located one. In a strain in which the marked Ty has only one LTR, the double-strand break is repaired by conversion. We have also measured the efficiency of repair and monitored the progression of the cells through the cell-cycle. We found that in the presence of a double-strand break in the marked Ty, a proportion of the cells is unable to resume growth.
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|Published - 1995