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Mol Cell. 1998 Jan;1(2):309-17.

On the mechanism of RecA-mediated repair of double-strand breaks: no role for four-strand DNA pairing intermediates.

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


RecA protein will bind to a gapped duplex DNA molecule and promote a DNA strand exchange with a second homologous linear duplex. A double-strand break in the second duplex is efficiently bypassed in the course of these reactions. We demonstrate that the bypass of double-strand breaks is not explained by a mechanism involving homologous interactions between two duplex DNA molecules, but instead requires the ATP-mediated generation of DNA torsional stress brought about by the action of RecA. The results suggest new pathways for the repair of double-strand breaks and underline the need for new paradigms to explain the alignment of homologous DNAs during genetic recombination.

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