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Selective defects in gene expression control genome instability in yeast splicing mutants
Tam AS, Sihota TS, Milbury KL, Zhang A, Mathew V & Stirling PC. Selective defects in gene expression control genome instability in yeast splicing mutants. Mol Biol Cell 30: 191-200, 2019.
RNA processing mutants have been broadly implicated in genome stability, but mechanistic links are often unclear. Two predominant models have emerged: one involving changes in gene expression that perturb other genome maintenance factors and another in which genotoxic DNA:RNA hybrids, called R-loops, impair DNA replication. Here we characterize genome instability phenotypes in yeast splicing factor mutants and find that mitotic defects, and in some cases R-loop accumulation, are causes of genome instability. In both cases, alterations in gene expression, rather than direct cis effects, are likely to contribute to instability. Genome instability in splicing mutants is exacerbated by loss of the spindle-assembly checkpoint protein Mad1. Moreover, removal of the intron from the α-tubulin gene TUB1 restores genome integrity. Thus, differing penetrance and selective effects on the transcriptome can lead to a range of phenotypes in conditional mutants of the spliceosome, including multiple routes to genome instability.