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Mol Cell. 2003 Sep;12(3):775-81.

The architecture of the gammadelta resolvase crossover site synaptic complex revealed by using constrained DNA substrates.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Activated mutants of the serine recombinase, gammadelta resolvase, form a simplified recombinogenic synaptic complex containing a tetramer of resolvase and two crossover sites. We have probed the architecture of this complex by measuring the efficiency of recombination of a series of constrained DNA substrates (with phased recombination sites separated by an IHF-induced U-turn); this serves as a direct report on the topology of a productive synapse. Our data show that in the active complex, the catalytic domains from two resolvase dimers form a central core, while the DNA binding domains and the DNA lie on the outside. In addition, the crossover sites cross one another to form a local positive node. The implications of our data for the mechanism of strand exchange and the process of resolvase activation are discussed.

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