|Title||The poor homology stringency in the heteroduplex allows strand exchange to incorporate desirable mismatches without sacrificing recognition in vivo|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2015|
|Authors||Danilowicz C, Yang D, Kelley C, Prévost C, Prentiss M|
|Journal||Nucleic Acids Res.|
RecA family proteins are responsible for homology search and strand exchange. In bacteria, homology search begins after RecA binds an initiating single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) in the primary DNA-binding site, forming the presynaptic filament. Once the filament is formed, it interrogates double-stranded DNA (dsDNA). During the interrogation, bases in the dsDNA attempt to form Watson-Crick bonds with the corresponding bases in the initiating strand. Mismatch dependent instability in the base pairing in the heteroduplex strand exchange product could provide stringent recognition; however, we present experimental and theoretical results suggesting that the heteroduplex stability is insensitive to mismatches. We also present data suggesting that an initial homology test of 8 contiguous bases rejects most interactions containing more than 1/8 mismatches without forming a detectable 20 bp product. We propose that, in vivo, the sparsity of accidental sequence matches allows an initial 8 bp test to rapidly reject almost all non-homologous sequences. We speculate that once the initial test is passed, the mismatch insensitive binding in the heteroduplex allows short mismatched regions to be incorporated in otherwise homologous strand exchange products even though sequences with less homology are eventually rejected.