GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program


Program in Molecular Medicine

First Thesis Advisor

Craig L. Peterson, Ph.D.


DNA Repair, Recombination, Genetic, Nucleosomes, Rad51 Recombinase, Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins, Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly, Heterochromatin


Repairing a chromosomal DNA double strand break is essential for survival and maintenance of genomic integrity of a eukaryotic organism. The eukaryotic cell has therefore evolved intricate mechanisms to counteract all sorts of genomic insults in the context of chromatin structure. Modulating chromatin structure has been crucial and integral in regulating a number of conserved repair processes along with other fundamental genomic processes like replication and transcription.

The work in this dissertation has focused on understanding the role of chromatin remodeling enzymes in the repair of a chromosomal DNA double strand break by homologous recombination. This has been approached by recapitulating the biochemical formation of recombination intermediates on chromatin in vitro. In this study, we have demonstrated that the mere packaging of DNA into nucleosomal structure does not present a barrier for successful capture of homologous DNA sequences, a central step of the biochemical pathway of recombinational repair. It is only the assembly of heterochromatin-like more complex nucleo-protein structure that presents additional constraints to this key step. And, this additional constraint can be overcome by the activities of ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzymes. These findings have great implications for our perception of the mechanism of the recombinational repair process of a chromosomal DNA double strand break within the eukaryotic genome.



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