Repeat-induced point mutation (RIP) is an unusual genome defense mechanism that was discovered inNeurospora crassa. RIP occurs during a sexual cross and induces numerous G : C to A : T mutations in duplicated DNA sequences and also methylates many of the remaining cytosine residues. We measured the susceptibility of theerg-3 gene, present in single copy, to the spread of RIP from duplications of adjoining sequences. Genomic segments of defined length (1, 1.5 or 2 kb) and located at defined distances (0, 0.5, 1 or 2 kb) upstream or downstream of theerg-3 open reading frame (ORF) were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and the duplications were created by transformation of the amplified DNA. Crosses were made with the duplication strains and the frequency oferg-3 mutant progeny provided a measure of the spread of RIP from the duplicated segments into theerg-3 gene. Our results suggest that ordinarily RIP-spread does not occur. However, occasionally the mechanism that confines RIP to the duplicated segment seems to fail (frequency 0.1–0.8%) and then RIP can spread across as much as 1 kb of unduplicated DNA. Additionally, the bacterialhph gene appeared to be very susceptible to the spread of RIP-associated cytosine methylation.
Volume 44 | Issue 4
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