An overview of the molecular mechanismsof recombinational DNA repair

Stephen C. Kowalczykowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

230 Scopus citations


Recombinational DNA repair is a universal aspect of DNA metabolism and is essential for genomic integrity. It is a template-directed process that uses a second chromosomal copy (sister, daughter, or homolog) to ensure proper repair of broken chromosomes. The key steps of recombination are conserved from phage through human, and an overview of those steps is provided in this review. The first step is resection by helicases and nucleases to produce single-strandedDNA (ssDNA) that defines the homologous locus. The ssDNA is a scaffold for assembly of the RecA/RAD51 filament, which promotes the homology search. On finding homology, the nucleoprotein filament catalyzes exchange of DNA strands to form a joint molecule. Recombination is controlled by regulating the fate of both RecA/RAD51 filaments and DNA pairing intermediates. Finally, intermediates that mature into Holliday structures are disjoined by either nucleolytic resolution or topological dissolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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