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Mol Cell. 2004 Aug 13;15(3):437-51.

hMSH4-hMSH5 recognizes Holliday Junctions and forms a meiosis-specific sliding clamp that embraces homologous chromosomes.

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Genetics and Molecular Biology Program, Kimmel Cancer Center, BLSB 933, 233 South 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


Five MutS homologs (MSH), which form three heterodimeric protein complexes, have been identified in eukaryotes. While the human hMSH2-hMSH3 and hMSH2-hMSH6 heterodimers operate primarily in mitotic mismatch repair (MMR), the biochemical function(s) of the meiosis-specific hMSH4-hMSH5 heterodimer is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that purified hMSH4-hMSH5 binds uniquely to Holliday Junctions. Holliday Junctions stimulate the hMSH4-hMSH5 ATP hydrolysis (ATPase) activity, which is controlled by Holliday Junction-provoked ADP-->ATP exchange. ATP binding by hMSH4-hMSH5 induces the formation of a hydrolysis-independent sliding clamp that dissociates from the Holliday Junction crossover region, embracing two homologous duplex DNA arms. Fundamental differences between hMSH2-hMSH6 and hMSH4-hMSH5 Holliday Junction recognition are detailed. Our results support the attractive possibility that hMSH4-hMSH5 stabilizes and preserves a meiotic bimolecular double-strand break repair (DSBR) intermediate.

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