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Genomic GC content varies widely among microbes for reasons unknown. While mutation bias partially explains this variation, prokaryotes near-universally have a higher GC content than predicted solely by this bias. Debate surrounds the relative importance of the remaining explanations of selection versus biased gene conversion favoring GC alleles. Some environments (e.g. soils) are associated with a high genomic GC content of their inhabitants, which implies that either high GC content is a selective adaptation to particular habitats, or that certain habitats favor increased rates of gene conversion. Here, we report a novel association between the presence of the non-homologous end joining DNA double-strand break repair pathway and GC content; this observation suggests that DNA damage may be a fundamental driver of GC content, leading in part to the many environmental patterns observed to-date. We discuss potential mechanisms accounting for the observed association, and provide preliminary evidence that sites experiencing higher rates of double-strand breaks are under selection for increased GC content relative to the genomic background.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PLoS genetics
The repair of DNA double-strand breaks occurs through a series of defined steps that are evolutionarily conserved and well-understood in most experimental organisms. However, it is becoming increasing...
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The repair of DOUBLE-STRAND DNA BREAKS by rejoining the broken ends of DNA to each other directly.
A component of the MRN complex along with Rad50 and Nibrin. Together, these perform a critical function in the repair of DOUBLE-STRANDED DNA BREAKS; RECOMBINATIONAL DNA REPAIR; maintenance of TELOMERE integrity and MEIOSIS. MRE11, which contains a poly(ADP)-ribose binding motif and associates with PARP1, possesses single-strand endonuclease activity and double-strand-specific 3'-5' exonuclease activity. Mutations in the MRE11 gene are associated with ATAXIA-TELANGIECTASIA-like disorder 1.
Injuries to DNA that introduce deviations from its normal, intact structure and which may, if left unrepaired, result in a MUTATION or a block of DNA REPLICATION. These deviations may be caused by physical or chemical agents and occur by natural or unnatural, introduced circumstances. They include the introduction of illegitimate bases during replication or by deamination or other modification of bases; the loss of a base from the DNA backbone leaving an abasic site; single-strand breaks; double strand breaks; and intrastrand (PYRIMIDINE DIMERS) or interstrand crosslinking. Damage can often be repaired (DNA REPAIR). If the damage is extensive, it can induce APOPTOSIS.
A Rec A recombinase found in eukaryotes. Rad51 is involved in DNA REPAIR of double-strand breaks.
A MutL protein and component of the DNA MISMATCH REPAIR system. Its ENDONUCLEASE activity introduces SINGLE-STRAND DNA BREAKS which create entry points for EXO1 exonuclease to remove the strand containing the mismatch. It may also function in DNA DAMAGE signaling.
Bioinformatics is the application of computer software and hardware to the management of biological data to create useful information. Computers are used to gather, store, analyze and integrate biological and genetic information which can then be applied...