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      Homologous recombination and its regulation

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          Abstract

          Homologous recombination (HR) is critical both for repairing DNA lesions in mitosis and for chromosomal pairing and exchange during meiosis. However, some forms of HR can also lead to undesirable DNA rearrangements. Multiple regulatory mechanisms have evolved to ensure that HR takes place at the right time, place and manner. Several of these impinge on the control of Rad51 nucleofilaments that play a central role in HR. Some factors promote the formation of these structures while others lead to their disassembly or the use of alternative repair pathways. In this article, we review these mechanisms in both mitotic and meiotic environments and in different eukaryotic taxa, with an emphasis on yeast and mammal systems. Since mutations in several proteins that regulate Rad51 nucleofilaments are associated with cancer and cancer-prone syndromes, we discuss how understanding their functions can lead to the development of better tools for cancer diagnosis and therapy.

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          Most cited references 291

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          Sae2, Exo1 and Sgs1 collaborate in DNA double-strand break processing.

          DNA ends exposed after introduction of double-strand breaks (DSBs) undergo 5'-3' nucleolytic degradation to generate single-stranded DNA, the substrate for binding by the Rad51 protein to initiate homologous recombination. This process is poorly understood in eukaryotes, but several factors have been implicated, including the Mre11 complex (Mre11-Rad50-Xrs2/NBS1), Sae2/CtIP/Ctp1 and Exo1. Here we demonstrate that yeast Exo1 nuclease and Sgs1 helicase function in alternative pathways for DSB processing. Novel, partially resected intermediates accumulate in a double mutant lacking Exo1 and Sgs1, which are poor substrates for homologous recombination. The early processing step that generates partly resected intermediates is dependent on Sae2. When Sae2 is absent, in addition to Exo1 and Sgs1, unprocessed DSBs accumulate and homology-dependent repair fails. These results suggest a two-step mechanism for DSB processing during homologous recombination. First, the Mre11 complex and Sae2 remove a small oligonucleotide(s) from the DNA ends to form an early intermediate. Second, Exo1 and/or Sgs1 rapidly process this intermediate to generate extensive tracts of single-stranded DNA that serve as substrate for Rad51.
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            The Bloom's syndrome helicase suppresses crossing over during homologous recombination.

            Mutations in BLM, which encodes a RecQ helicase, give rise to Bloom's syndrome, a disorder associated with cancer predisposition and genomic instability. A defining feature of Bloom's syndrome is an elevated frequency of sister chromatid exchanges. These arise from crossing over of chromatid arms during homologous recombination, a ubiquitous process that exists to repair DNA double-stranded breaks and damaged replication forks. Whereas crossing over is required in meiosis, in mitotic cells it can be associated with detrimental loss of heterozygosity. BLM forms an evolutionarily conserved complex with human topoisomerase IIIalpha (hTOPO IIIalpha), which can break and rejoin DNA to alter its topology. Inactivation of homologues of either protein leads to hyper-recombination in unicellular organisms. Here, we show that BLM and hTOPO IIIalpha together effect the resolution of a recombination intermediate containing a double Holliday junction. The mechanism, which we term double-junction dissolution, is distinct from classical Holliday junction resolution and prevents exchange of flanking sequences. Loss of such an activity explains many of the cellular phenotypes of Bloom's syndrome. These results have wider implications for our understanding of the process of homologous recombination and the mechanisms that exist to prevent tumorigenesis.
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              DMC1: a meiosis-specific yeast homolog of E. coli recA required for recombination, synaptonemal complex formation, and cell cycle progression.

              DMC1 is a new meiosis-specific yeast gene. Dmc1 protein is structurally similar to bacterial RecA proteins. dmc1 mutants are defective in reciprocal recombination, accumulate double-strand break (DSB) recombination intermediates, fail to form normal synaptonemal complex (SC), and arrest late in meiotic prophase. dmc1 phenotypes are consistent with a functional relationship between Dmc1 and RecA, and thus eukaryotic and prokaryotic mechanisms for homology recognition and strand exchange may be related. dmc1 phenotypes provide further evidence that recombination and SC formation are interrelated processes and are consistent with a requirement for DNA-DNA interactions during SC formation. dmc1 mutations confer prophase arrest. Additional evidence suggests that arrest occurs at a meiosis-specific cell cycle "checkpoint" in response to a primary defect in prophase chromosome metabolism. DMC1 is homologous to yeast's RAD51 gene, supporting the view that mitotic DSB repair has been recruited for use in meiotic chromosome metabolism.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nucleic Acids Res
                Nucleic Acids Res
                nar
                nar
                Nucleic Acids Research
                Oxford University Press
                0305-1048
                1362-4962
                July 2012
                July 2012
                30 March 2012
                30 March 2012
                : 40
                : 13
                : 5795-5818
                Affiliations
                1Department of Biology, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, 2National Centre for Biomolecular Research, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, 3International Clinical Research Center, Center for Biomolecular and Cellular Engineering, St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno, Brno, Czech Republic and 4Molecular Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA
                Author notes
                *To whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel: +420 549493767; Fax: +420 549491327; Email: lkrejci@ 123456chemi.muni.cz
                Article
                gks270
                10.1093/nar/gks270
                3401455
                22467216
                © The Author(s) 2012. Published by Oxford University Press.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Pages: 24
                Categories
                Survey and Summary

                Genetics

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