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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2014 Sep 4;6(11):a017954. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a017954.

Regulation of DNA pairing in homologous recombination.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510.


Homologous recombination (HR) is a major mechanism for eliminating DNA double-strand breaks from chromosomes. In this process, the break termini are resected nucleolytically to form 3' ssDNA (single-strand DNA) overhangs. A recombinase (i.e., a protein that catalyzes homologous DNA pairing and strand exchange) assembles onto the ssDNA and promotes pairing with a homologous duplex. DNA synthesis then initiates from the 3' end of the invading strand, and the extended DNA joint is resolved via one of several pathways to restore the integrity of the injured chromosome. It is crucial that HR be carefully orchestrated because spurious events can create cytotoxic intermediates or cause genomic rearrangements and loss of gene heterozygosity, which can lead to cell death or contribute to the development of cancer. In this review, we will discuss how DNA motor proteins regulate HR via a dynamic balance of the recombination-promoting and -attenuating activities that they possess.

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