Rad54 protein is a key member of the RAD52 epistasis group required for homologous recombination in eukaryotes. Rad54 is a duplex DNA translocase that remodels both DNA and protein-DNA complexes, and functions at multiple steps in the recombination process. Here we use biochemical criteria to demonstrate the existence of this important protein in a prokaryotic organism. The Sulfolobus solfataricus Rad54 (SsoRad54) protein is a double-strand DNA-dependent ATPase that can alter the topology of duplex DNA. Like its eukaryotic homolog, it interacts directly with the S. solfataricus Rad51 homologue, SsoRadA, to stimulate DNA strand exchange. Confirmation of this protein as an authentic Rad54 homolog establishes an essential phylogenetic bridge for identifying Rad54 homologs in the archaeal and bacterial domains.
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