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EMBO J. Dec 15, 1994; 13(24): 6133–6142.
PMCID: PMC395593

Processing of intermediates in recombination and DNA repair: identification of a new endonuclease that specifically cleaves Holliday junctions.


The formation and subsequent resolution of Holliday junctions are critical stages in recombination. We describe a new Escherichia coli endonuclease that resolves Holliday intermediates by junction cleavage. The 14 kDa Rus protein binds DNA containing a synthetic four-way junction (X-DNA) and introduces symmetrical cuts in two strands to give nicked duplex products. Rus also processes Holliday intermediates made by RecA into products that are characteristic of junction resolution. The cleavage activity on X-DNA is remarkably similar to that of RuvC. Both proteins preferentially cut the same two strands at the same location. Increased expression of Rus suppresses the DNA repair and recombination defects of ruvA, ruvB and ruvC mutants. We conclude that all ruv strains are defective in junction cleavage, and discuss pathways for Holliday junction resolution by RuvAB, RuvC, RecG and Rus.

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