P-element transposition in Drosophila melanogaster: influence of size and arrangement in pairs
The P family of transposable elements in Drosophila transpose by a cut-and-paste mechanism involving double-strand gap repair. We report here that a Drosophila mutagen-sensitive mutant, mus3O9, contains a mutation in IRBP (inverted repeat binding protein), the Drosophila homolog of the mammalian Ku p70 gene. We show that the repair of double-strand DNA breaks after P-element excision is severely reduced in mus3O9 mutants using an in vivo assay for P-element transposase activity. In addition, excision products recovered from mus3O9 mutant embryos by use of a plasmid-based P-element mobility assay contain large deletions, suggesting that IRBP is involved in the repair of double-strand DNA breaks. Our findings provide the first demonstration that a mutation in the IRBP gene affects double-strand DNA break repair and suggest that DNA repair functions are conserved between Drosophila and mammals.