Effects of suppressing the DNA mismatch repair system on homeologous recombination in tomato

Sheh May Tam, John B Hays, R Chetelat

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In plant breeding, the ability to manipulate genetic (meiotic) recombination would be beneficial for facilitating gene transfer from wild relatives of crop plants. The DNA mismatch repair (MMR) system helps maintain genetic integrity by correcting base mismatches that arise via DNA synthesis or damage, and antagonizes recombination between homeologous (divergent) DNA sequences. Previous studies have established that the genomes of cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and the wild relative S. lycopersicoides are substantially diverged (homeologous) such that recombination between their chromosomes is strongly reduced. Here, we report the effects on homeologous recombination of suppressing endogenous MMR genes in S. lycopersicum via RNAi-induced silencing of SlMSH2 and SlMSH7 or overexpressing dominant negatives of Arabidopsis MSH2 (AtMSH2-DN) in an alien substitution line (SL-8) of S. lycopersicoides in tomato. We show that certain inhibitions of MMR (RNAi of SlMSH7, AtMSH2-DN) are associated with modest increases in homeologous recombination, ranging from 3.8 to 29.2 (average rate of 17.8 ) compared to controls. Unexpectedly, only the AtMSH2-DN proteins but not RNAi-induced silencing of MSH2 was found to increase homeologous recombination. The ratio of single to double crossovers (SCO:DCO ratio) decreased by approximately 50 in progeny of the AtMSH2-DN parents. An increase in the frequency of heterozygous SL-8 plants was also observed in the progeny of the SlMSH7-RNAi parents. Our findings may contribute to acceleration of introgression in cultivated tomato.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1445 - 1458
Number of pages14
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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