PCNA Is Required for Initiation of Recombination-Associated DNA Synthesis by DNA Polymerase δ

Xuan Li, Carrie M. Stith, Peter M. Burgers, Wolf Dietrich Heyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Scopus citations


Genetic recombination ensures proper chromosome segregation during meiosis and is essential for genome stability and tumor suppression. DNA synthesis after Rad51-mediated DNA strand invasion is a crucial step during recombination. PCNA is known as the processivity clamp for DNA polymerases. Here, we report the surprising observation that PCNA is specifically required to initiate recombination-associated DNA synthesis in the extension of the 3′ end of the invading strand in a D loop. We show using a reconstituted system of yeast Rad51, Rad54, RPA, PCNA, RFC, and DNA polymerase δ that loading of PCNA by RFC targets DNA polymerase δ to the D loop formed by Rad51 protein, allowing efficient utilization of the invading 3′ end and processive DNA synthesis. We conclude that PCNA has a specific role in the initiation of recombination-associated DNA synthesis and that DNA polymerase δ promotes recombination-associated DNA synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-713
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Cell
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 25 2009



  • DNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this