Abstract: Bypass of DNA lesions that block replicative polymerases during DNA replication relies on several DNA damage tolerance pathways. The error-prone translesion synthesis (TLS) pathway involves specialized DNA polymerases that incorporate nucleotides in front of base lesions. The template switching and the homologous recombination (HR) pathways are mostly error-free because the bypass is performed by using typically the sister chromatid as a template. This is promoted by the Rad51 recombinase that forms nucleoprotein filaments on single-strand DNA (ssDNA). The balance between error-prone and error-free pathways controls the level of mutagenesis. In yeast, the Rad55-Rad57 complex of Rad51 paralogs is required for Rad51 filament formation and stability, notably by counteracting the Srs2 antirecombinase. Several reports showed that Rad55-Rad57 promotes HR at stalled replication forks more than at DNA double-strand breaks (DSB), suggesting that this complex is more efficient at ssDNA gaps and thus, could control the recruitment of TLS polymerases. To address this point, we studied the interplay between Rad55-Rad57 and the TLS polymerases Polζ and Polη following UV radiation. We confirmed that Rad55-Rad57 protects Rad51 filaments from Srs2 dismantling activity but we found that it is also essential for the promotion of UV-induced HR independently of Srs2. In addition, we observed that cell UV sensitivity, but not DSB sensitivity, is synergistically increased when Rad55 and Polζ deletions are combined. Moreover, we found that mutagenesis and HR frequency were increased in rad55∆ mutants and in TLS-deficient cells, respectively. Finally, UV-induced HR was partially restored in Rad55-deficient cells with mutated Polζ or Polη. Overall, our data suggest that the HR and TLS pathways compete for the same ssDNA substrates and that the Rad55-Rad57 complex of Rad51 paralogs prevents the recruitment of TLS polymerases and counterbalances mutagenesis.
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