Yeast rad51 mutants are viable, but extremely sensitive to γ‐rays due to defective repair of double‐strand breaks. In contrast, disruption of the murine RAD51 homologue is lethal, indicating an essential role of Rad51 in vertebrate cells. We generated clones of the chicken B lymphocyte line DT40 carrying a human RAD51 transgene under the control of a repressible promoter and subsequently disrupted the endogenous RAD51 loci. Upon inhibition of the RAD51 transgene, Rad51− cells accumulated in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle before dying. Chromosome analysis revealed that most metaphase‐arrested Rad51− cells carried isochromatid‐type breaks. In conclusion, Rad51 fulfils an essential role in the repair of spontaneously occurring chromosome breaks in proliferating cells of higher eukaryotes.
The EMBO Journal – Wiley
Published: Jan 15, 1998
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