Survival mechanisms for Streptomyces linear replicons after telomere damage.
Qin Z, Cohen SN
Molecular Microbiology (2002)
Category: telomere ¤ Added: Dec 16, 2002 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
The ability of linear replicons to propagate their DNA after telomere damage is essential for perpetuation of the genetic information they carry. We introduced deletions at specific locations within telomeres of streptomycete linear plasmids and investigated mechanisms that enable survival. Here, we report that rescue of such plasmids in Streptomyces lividans occurs by three distinct types of events: (i) repair of the damaged telomere by homologous recombination; (ii) circularization of the plasmid by non-homologous end-to-end joining; and (iii) formation of long palindromic linear plasmids that duplicate the intact telomere by a non-recombinational process. The relative frequency of use of these survival mechanisms depended on the location and length of the telomeric DNA deletion. Repair by intermolecular recombination between the telomeres of chromosomes and plasmids, deletion of additional DNA during plasmid circularization, and insertion of chromosomal DNA fragments into plasmids during end-to-end joining were observed. Our results show that damage to telomeres of Streptomyces linear replicons can promote major structural transformations in these replicons as well as genetic exchange between chromosomes and extrachromosomal DNA. Our findings also suggest that spontaneous circularization of linear Streptomyces chromosomes may be a biological response to instances of telomere damage that cannot be repaired by homologous recombination.