Meiotic localization of Mre11 and Rad50 in wild type,spo11-1, and MRN complex mutants ofCoprinus cinereus

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The Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 (MRN) complex is required for numerous cellular processes that involve interactions with DNA double-strand breaks. For the majority of these processes, the MRN complex is thought to act as a unit, with each protein aiding the activity of the others. We have examined the relationship between Mre11 and Rad50 during meiosis in the basidiomycete Coprinus cinereus (Coprinopsis cinerea), investigating to what extent activities of Mre11 and Rad50 are interdependent. We showed that mre11-1 is epistatic to rad50-1 with respect to the time of meiotic arrest, indicating that Mre11 activity facilitates the diffuse diplotene arrest of rad50 mutants. Anti-Mre11 and anti-Rad50 antibodies were used to examine MRN complex localization in a wild-type strain and in spo11, mre11, and rad50 mutants. In wild type, numbers of Mre11 and Rad50 foci peaked at time points corresponding to leptotene and early zygotene. In the spo11-1 mutant, which is defective in meiotic double-strand break formation, foci accumulated throughout prophase I. Of seven MRN mutants examined, only two rad50 strains exhibited Mre11 and Rad50 foci that localized to chromatin, although Mre11 protein was found in the cell for all of them. Analysis of predicted mutant structures showed that stable localization of Mre11 and Rad50 does not depend upon a wild-type hook-proximal coiled coil, but does require the presence of the Rad50 ATPase/adenylate cyclase domains. We found that Mre11 and Rad50 were interdependent for binding to meiotic chromosomes. However, the majority of foci observed apparently contained only one of the two proteins. Independent Mre11 and Rad50 foci might indicate disassociation of the complex during meiosis or could reflect independent structural roles for the two proteins in meiotic chromatin.

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