During repair of a double-strand break (DSB) by gene conversion, one or both 3' ends of the DSB invade a homologous donor sequence and initiate new DNA synthesis. The use of the invading DNA strand as a primer for new DNA synthesis requires that any nonhomologous bases at the 3' end be removed. We have previously shown that removal of a 3' nonhomologous tail in Saccharomyces cerevisiae depends on the nucleotide excision repair endonuclease Rad1/Rad10, and also on the mismatch repair proteins Msh2 and Msh3. We now report that these four proteins are needed only when the nonhomologous ends of recombining DNA are 30 nucleotides (nt) long or longer. An additional protein, the helicase Srs2, is required for the RAD1-dependent removal of long 3' tails. We suggest that Srs2 acts to extend and stabilize the initial nascent joint between the invading single strand and its homolog. 3' tails shorter than 30 nt are removed by another mechanism that depends at least in part on the 3'-to-5' proofreading activity of DNA polymerase delta
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