|Geometry of the DNA strands within the RecA nucleofilament: role in homologous recombination
|Year of Publication
|Prévost C, Takahashi M.
|Q. Rev. Biophys.
Homologous recombination consists of exchanging DNA strands of identical or almost identical sequence. This process is important for both DNA repair and DNA segregation. In prokaryotes, it involves the formation of long helical filaments of the RecA protein on DNA. These filaments incorporate double-stranded DNA from the cell's genetic material, recognize sequence homology and promote strand exchange between the two DNA segments. DNA processing by these nucleofilaments is characterized by large amplitude deformations of the double helix, which is stretched by 50% and unwound by 40% with respect to B-DNA. In this article, information concerning the structure and interactions of the RecA, DNA and ATP molecules involved in DNA strand exchange is gathered and analyzed to present a view of their possible arrangement within the filament, their behavior during strand exchange and during ATP hydrolysis, the mechanism of RecA-promoted DNA deformation and the role of DNA deformation in the process of homologous recombination. In particular, the unusual characteristics of DNA within the RecA filament are compared to the DNA deformations locally induced by architectural proteins which bind in the DNA minor groove. The possible role and location of two flexible loops of RecA are discussed.