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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2007 May;14(5):397-405. Epub 2007 Apr 8.

Homology-driven chromatin remodeling by human RAD54.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, 185 Cambridge Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


Human RAD51 and RAD54 are key players in homologous recombination, a process that requires homology recognition and strand invasion by a RAD51-single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) nucleoprotein filament and chromatin remodeling by RAD54. Here we use in vitro chromatin reconstitution systems to show that RAD51-ssDNA stimulates RAD54-dependent chromatin remodeling in a homology-dependent, polarity-independent manner. This stimulation was not seen with RAD54B or other remodelers. Chromatin remodeling by RAD54 enabled strand invasion by RAD51-ssDNA on nucleosomal templates, which was homology- and polarity-dependent. Three natural RAD54 mutants found in primary cancer cells showed specific defects in remodeling or in the RAD54-RAD51 interaction. We propose that RAD54 is recruited by RAD51-ssDNA filament to the chromatin of the intact chromosome and that it remodels that chromatin to facilitate accessibility for strand exchange.

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