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Genes Cells. 1998 Feb;3(2):65-78.

A broadening view of recombinational DNA repair in bacteria.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 53706, USA.


Recombinational DNA repair is both the most complex and least understood of DNA repair pathways. In bacterial cells grown under normal laboratory conditions (without a DNA damaging treatment other than an aerobic environment), a substantial number (10-50%) of the replication forks originating at oriC encounter a DNA lesion or strand break. When this occurs, repair is mediated by an elaborate set of recombinational DNA repair pathways which encompass most of the enzymes involved in DNA metabolism. Four steps are discussed: (i) The replication fork stalls and/or collapses. (ii) Recombination enzymes are recruited to the location of the lesion, and function with nearly perfect efficiency and fidelity. (iii) Additional enzymatic systems, including the phiX174-type primosome (or repair primosome), then function in the origin-independent reassembly of the replication fork. (iv) Frequent recombination associated with recombinational DNA repair leads to the formation of dimeric chromosomes, which are monomerized by the XerCD site-specific recombination system.

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