Structure/function relationships in RecA protein-mediated homology recognition and strand exchange

TitleStructure/function relationships in RecA protein-mediated homology recognition and strand exchange
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsPrentiss M, Prévost C, Danilowicz C
JournalCrit. Rev. Biochem. Mol. Biol.
KeywordsDouble-strand break repair, meiosis, meiotic recombination, Rad51, recombinase

RecA family proteins include RecA, Rad51, and Dmc1. These recombinases are responsible for homology search and strand exchange. Homology search and strand exchange occur during double-strand break repair and in eukaryotes during meiotic recombination. In bacteria, homology search begins when RecA binds an initiating single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) in the primary DNA-binding site to form the presynaptic filament. The filament is a right-handed helix, where the initiating strand is bound deep within the filament. Once the presynaptic filament is formed, it interrogates nearby double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) to find a homologous sequence; therefore, we provide a detailed discussion of structural features of the presynaptic filament that play important functional roles. The discussion includes many diagrams showing multiple filament turns. These diagrams illustrate interactions that are not evident in single turn structures. The first dsDNA interactions with the presynaptic filament are insensitive to mismatches. The mismatch insensitive interactions lead to dsDNA deformation that triggers a homology testing process governed by kinetics. The first homology test involves ∼8 bases. Almost all interactions are rejected by this initial rapid test, leading to a new cycle of homology testing. Interactions that pass the initial rapid test proceed to a slower testing stage. That slower stage induces nonhomologous dsDNA to reverse strand exchange and begin a new cycle of homology testing. In contrast, homologous dsDNA continues to extend the heteroduplex strand-exchange product until ATP hydrolysis makes strand exchange irreversible.

Citation Key2015|1641