MEC1, the essential yeast homolog of the human ATR/ATM genes, controls the S-phase checkpoint and prevents replication fork collapse at slow zones of DNA replication. The viability of hypomorphic mec1-21 is reduced in the rad52 mutant, defective in homologous recombination, suggesting that replication generates recombinogenic lesions. We previously observed a 6-, 10- and 30-fold higher rate of spontaneous sister chromatid exchange (SCE), heteroallelic recombination and translocations, respectively, in mec1-21 mutants compared to wild-type. Here we report that the hyper-recombination phenotype correlates with lower deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) levels, compared to wild-type. By introducing a dun1 mutation, thus eliminating inducible expression of ribonucleotide reductase in mec1-21, rates of spontaneous SCE increased 15-fold above wild-type. All the hyper-recombination phenotypes were reduced by SML1 deletions, which increase dNTP levels. Measurements of dNTP pools indicated that, compared to wild-type, there was a significant decrease in dNTP levels in mec1-21, dun1 and mec1-21 dun1, while the dNTP levels of mec1-21 sml1, mec1-21 dun1 sml1 and sml1 mutants were approximately 2-fold higher. Interestingly, higher dNTP levels in mec1-21 dun1 sml1 correlate with approximately 2-fold higher rate of spontaneous mutagenesis, compared to mec1-21 dun1. We suggest that higher dNTP levels in specific checkpoint mutants suppress the formation of recombinogenic lesions.
2010. Vol. 38, no 4, 1195-1203 p.