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Cell. 1987 Aug 28;50(5):779-88.

Site-specific recombination intermediates trapped with suicide substrates.


A family of novel substrates was designed to enable the efficient accumulation of intermediates in site-specific recombination. Strategically placed nicks allow these "suicide substrates" to initiate the reaction but prevent its completion or reversal. Consequently, it has been possible to determine that lambda site-specific recombination proceeds by a pair of sequential single-strand exchanges. These results rule out that class of models invoking a concerted cutting of all four DNA strands. The sequential strand exchanges are executed in a strictly prescribed order that is the same in both integrative and excisive recombination. This specified order appears to be governed by the arrangement of bound proteins distal to the sites of strand exchange. Furthermore, when provided with an appropriate 5' OH acceptor, the Integrase protein has the capacity to execute a single DNA strand transfer in a nonreciprocal reaction.

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