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Experientia. 1994 Mar 15;50(3):234-41.

Hotspots of homologous recombination.

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98104.


Homologous recombination occurs at higher than average frequency at and near hotspots. Hotspots are special nucleotide sequences recognized by proteins that promote, directly or indirectly, a rate limiting step of recombination. This review focuses on two well-studied examples, the Chi sites of the bacterium Escherichia coli and the M26 site of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Chi, 5' G-C-T-G-G-T-G-G 3', is recognized by the RecBCD enzyme, which nicks the DNA near Chi and produces a 3'-ended single-stranded DNA 'tail'; this tail is a potent substrate for homologous pairing by RecA and single-stranded DNA binding proteins. M26, 5' A-T-G-A-C-G-T 3', is recognized by a heterodimeric protein and stimulates, by an as-yet-unknown mechanism, meiotic recombination at and near the ade6 gene. Additional hotspots in bacteria, fungi, and mammals enhance recombination directly or indirectly via a variety of mechanisms. Although hotspots are widespread among organisms, the biological role of their localized enhancement of recombination remains a matter of speculation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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