Efficient Detection of Unpaired DNA Requires a Member of the Rad54-Like Family of Homologous Recombination Proteins
Dilini A. Samarajeewa, Pegan A. Sauls, Kevin J. Sharp, Zachary J. Smith, Hua Xiao, Katie M. Groskreutz, Tyler L. Malone, Erin C. Boone, Kevin A. Edwards, Patrick K. T. Shiu, Erik D. Larson, Thomas M. Hammond


Meiotic silencing by unpaired DNA (MSUD) is a process that detects unpaired regions between homologous chromosomes and silences them for the duration of sexual development. While the phenomenon of MSUD is well recognized, the process that detects unpaired DNA is poorly understood. In this report, we provide two lines of evidence linking unpaired DNA detection to a physical search for DNA homology. First, we have found that a putative SNF2-family protein (SAD-6) is required for efficient MSUD in Neurospora crassa. SAD-6 is closely related to Rad54, a protein known to facilitate key steps in the repair of double-strand breaks by homologous recombination. Second, we have successfully masked unpaired DNA by placing identical transgenes at slightly different locations on homologous chromosomes. This masking falls apart when the distance between the transgenes is increased. We propose a model where unpaired DNA detection during MSUD is achieved through a spatially-constrained search for DNA homology. The identity of SAD-6 as a Rad54 paralog suggests that this process may be similar to the searching mechanism used during homologous recombination.

  • Received July 8, 2014.
  • Accepted August 14, 2014.