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Mol Cell. 1998 Sep;2(3):361-72.

Crystal structure of an octameric RuvA-Holliday junction complex.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University College London, United Kingdom.


Holliday junctions occur as intermediates in homologous recombination and DNA repair. In bacteria, resolution of Holliday junctions is accomplished by the RuvABC system, consisting of a junction-specific helicase complex RuvAB, which promotes branch migration, and a junction-specific endonuclease RuvC, which nicks two strands. The crystal structure of a complex between the RuvA protein of M. leprae and a synthetic four-way junction has now been determined. Rather than binding on the open surface of a RuvA tetramer as previously suggested, the DNA is sandwiched between two RuvA tetramers, which form a closed octameric shell, stabilized by a conserved tetramer-tetramer interface. Interactions between the DNA backbone and helix-hairpin-helix motifs from both tetramers suggest a mechanism for strand separation promoted by RuvA.

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