Recombination-Mediated Telomere Maintenance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae Is Not Dependent on the Shu Complex

van Mourik, Paula M.; de Jong, Jannie; Agpalo, Danielle; Claussin, Clémence; Rothstein, Rodney Joel; Chang, Michael

In cells lacking telomerase, telomeres shorten progressively during each cell division due to incomplete end-replication. When the telomeres become very short, cells enter a state that blocks cell division, termed senescence. A subset of these cells can overcome senescence and maintain their telomeres using telomerase-independent mechanisms. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, these cells are called ‘survivors’ and are dependent on Rad52-dependent homologous recombination and Pol32-dependent break-induced replication. There are two main types of survivors: type I and type II. The type I survivors require Rad51 and maintain telomeres by amplification of subtelomeric elements, while the type II survivors are Rad51-independent, but require the MRX complex and Sgs1 to amplify the C1–3A/TG1–3 telomeric sequences. Rad52, Pol32, Rad51, and Sgs1 are also important to prevent accelerated senescence, indicating that recombination processes are important at telomeres even before the formation of survivors. The Shu complex, which consists of Shu1, Shu2, Psy3, and Csm2, promotes Rad51-dependent homologous recombination and has been suggested to be important for break-induced replication. It also promotes the formation of recombination intermediates that are processed by the Sgs1-Top3-Rmi1 complex, as mutations in the SHU genes can suppress various sgs1, top3, and rmi1 mutant phenotypes. Given the importance of recombination processes during senescence and survivor formation, and the involvement of the Shu complex in many of the same processes during DNA repair, we hypothesized that the Shu complex may also have functions at telomeres. Surprisingly, we find that this is not the case: the Shu complex does not affect the rate of senescence, does not influence survivor formation, and deletion of SHU1 does not suppress the rapid senescence and type II survivor formation defect of a telomerase-negative sgs1 mutant. Altogether, our data suggest that the Shu complex is not important for recombination processes at telomeres.


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Genetics and Development
Public Library of Science
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April 28, 2016