Author(s): Roth DB, Wilson JH
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Abstract Both homologous and nonhomologous recombination events occur at high efficiency in DNA molecules transfected into mammalian cells. Both types of recombination occur with similar overall efficiencies, as measured by an endpoint assay, but their relative rates are unknown. In this communication, we measure the relative rates of homologous and nonhomologous recombination in DNA transfected into monkey cells. This measurement is made by using a linear simian virus 40 genome that contains a 131-base-pair duplication at its termini. Once inside the cell, this molecule must circularize to initiate lytic infection. Circularization can occur either by direct, nonhomologous end-joining or by homologous recombination within the duplicated region. Although the products of the two recombination pathways are different, they are equally infectious. Since homologous and nonhomologous recombination processes are competing for the same substrate, the relative amounts of the products of each pathway should reflect the relative rates of homologous and nonhomologous recombination. Analysis of individual recombinant genomes from 164 plaques indicates that the rate of circularization by nonhomologous recombination is 2- to 3-fold higher than the rate of homologous recombination. The assay system described here may prove to be useful for testing procedures designed to influence the relative rates of homologous and nonhomologous recombination.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Gene Technology