Conservative intrachromosomal recombination between inverted repeats in mouse cells: association between reciprocal exchange and gene conversion.

R. J. Bollag, R. M. Liskay

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35 Scopus citations


Recombination in mammalian cells is thought to involve both reciprocal and nonreciprocal modes of exchange, although rigorous proof is lacking due to the inability to recover all products of an exchange. To investigate further the relationship between these modes of exchange, we have analyzed intrachromosomal recombination between duplicated herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV tk) mutant alleles arranged as inverted repeats in cultured mouse L cells. In crosses between inverted repeats, a single intrachromatid reciprocal exchange leads to inversion of the sequence between the crossover sites and recovery of both genes involved in the event. The majority of recombinant products do not display such inversion and are thus consistent with a nonreciprocal mode of recombination (gene conversion). The remaining products display the sequence inversion predicted for intrachromatid reciprocal exchange. In light of the fact that intrachromatid exchanges occur, the rarity of intrachromatid double reciprocal exchanges strengthens the interpretation that the majority of events in this and previous investigations involve gene conversion. Furthermore, in accord with prediction, one-third of the reciprocal recombinants (inversions) display associated gene conversion. This association suggests that reciprocal and nonreciprocal modes of exchange are mechanistically related in mammalian cells. Finally, the occurrence of inversion recombinants suggests that intrachromosomal recombination can be a conservative (nondestructive) process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1988


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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