Homologous Recombination Is Stimulated by a Decrease in dUTPase in Arabidopsis
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Deoxyuridine triphosphatase (dUTPase) enzyme is an essential enzyme that protects DNA against uracil incorporation. No organism can tolerate the absence of this activity. In this article, we show that dUTPase function is conserved between E. coli (Escherichia coli), yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and that it is essential in Arabidopsis as in both micro-organisms. Using a RNA interference strategy, plant lines were generated with a diminished dUTPase activity as compared to the wild-type. These plants are sensitive to 5-fluoro-uracil. As an indication of DNA damage, inactivation of dUTPase results in the induction of AtRAD51 and AtPARP2, which are involved in DNA repair. Nevertheless, RNAi/DUT1 constructs are compatible with a rad51 mutation. Using a TUNEL assay, DNA damage was observed in the RNAi/ DUT1 plants. Finally, plants carrying a homologous recombination (HR) exclusive substrate transformed with the RNAi/DUT1 construct exhibit a seven times increase in homologous recombination events. Increased HR was only detected in the plants that were the most sensitive to 5-fluoro-uracils, thus establishing a link between uracil incorporation in the genomic DNA and HR. Our results show for the first time that genetic instability provoked by the presence of uracils in the DNA is poorly tolerated and that this base misincorporation globally stimulates HR in plants.