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PLoS Biol. 2004 Jan;2(1):E21. Epub 2004 Jan 20.

Role of Saccharomyces single-stranded DNA-binding protein RPA in the strand invasion step of double-strand break repair.

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Rosenstiel Center and Department of Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA.


The single-stranded DNA (ssDNA)-binding protein replication protein A (RPA) is essential for both DNA replication and recombination. Chromatin immunoprecipitation techniques were used to visualize the kinetics and extent of RPA binding following induction of a double-strand break (DSB) and during its repair by homologous recombination in yeast. RPA assembles at the HO endonuclease-cut MAT locus simultaneously with the appearance of the DSB, and binding spreads away from the DSB as 5' to 3' exonuclease activity creates more ssDNA. RPA binding precedes binding of the Rad51 recombination protein. The extent of RPA binding is greater when Rad51 is absent, supporting the idea that Rad51 displaces RPA from ssDNA. RPA plays an important role during RAD51-mediated strand invasion of the MAT ssDNA into the donor sequence HML. The replication-proficient but recombination-defective rfa1-t11 (K45E) mutation in the large subunit of RPA is normal in facilitating Rad51 filament formation on ssDNA, but is unable to achieve synapsis between MAT and HML. Thus, RPA appears to play a role in strand invasion as well as in facilitating Rad51 binding to ssDNA, possibly by stabilizing the displaced ssDNA.

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