The Arabidopsis genome contains seven genes that belong to the RecQ family of ATP- dependent DNA helicases. RecQ members in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (SGS1) and man (WRN, BLM and RecQL4) are involved in DNA recombination, repair and genome stability maintenance, but little is known about the function of their plant counterparts. The Arabidopsis thaliana RecQsim gene is remarkably different from the other RecQ-like genes due to an insertion in its helicase domain. We isolated the AtRecQsim orthologues from rice and rape and established the presence of a similar insertion in their helicase domain, which suggests a plant specific function for the insert. The expression pattern of the AtRecQsim gene was compared with the other Arabidopsis RecQ-like members in different tissues and in response to stress. The transcripts of the AtRecQsim gene were found in all plant organs and its accumulation was higher in roots and seedlings, as compared to the other AtRecQ-like members. In contrast to most AtRecQ-like genes, the examined environmental cues did not have a detectable effect on the accumulation of the AtRecQsim transcripts. The budding yeast sgs1 mutant, which is known to be hypersensitive to the DNA-damaging drug MMS, was transformed with the AtRecQsim cDNA. The AtRecQsim gene suppressed the MMS hypersensitivity phenotype of the sgs1 cells. We propose that the Arabidopsis RecQsim gene, despite its unusual structure, exhibits an evolutionary conserved function.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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