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Mol Cell. 2013 Aug 8;51(3):326-37. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2013.07.008.

Mismatch repair inhibits homeologous recombination via coordinated directional unwinding of trapped DNA structures.

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Department of Genetics, Cancer Genomics Netherlands, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam 3000 CA, The Netherlands.


Homeologous recombination between divergent DNA sequences is inhibited by DNA mismatch repair. In Escherichia coli, MutS and MutL respond to DNA mismatches within recombination intermediates and prevent strand exchange via an unknown mechanism. Here, using purified proteins and DNA substrates, we find that in addition to mismatches within the heteroduplex region, secondary structures within the displaced single-stranded DNA formed during branch migration within the recombination intermediate are involved in the inhibition. We present a model that explains how higher-order complex formation of MutS, MutL, and DNA blocks branch migration by preventing rotation of the DNA strands within the recombination intermediate. Furthermore, we find that the helicase UvrD is recruited to directionally resolve these trapped intermediates toward DNA substrates. Thus, our results explain on a mechanistic level how the coordinated action between MutS, MutL, and UvrD prevents homeologous recombination and maintains genome stability.

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