Regulation of homologous recombination in eukaryotes

Wolf Dietrich Heyer, Kirk T. Ehmsen, Jie Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

658 Scopus citations


Homologous recombination (HR) is required for accurate chromosome segregation during the first meiotic division and constitutes a key repair and tolerance pathway for complex DNA damage, including DNA double-strand breaks, interstrand crosslinks, and DNA gaps. In addition, recombination and replication are inextricably linked, as recombination recovers stalled and broken replication forks, enabling the evolution of larger genomesreplicons. Defects in recombination lead to genomic instability and elevated cancer predisposition, demonstrating a clear cellular need for recombination. However, recombination can also lead to genome rearrangements. Unrestrained recombination causes undesired endpoints (translocation, deletion, inversion) and the accumulation of toxic recombination intermediates. Evidently, HR must be carefully regulated to match specific cellular needs. Here, we review the factors and mechanistic stages of recombination that are subject to regulation and suggest that recombination achieves flexibility and robustness by proceeding through metastable, reversible intermediates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-139
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual Review of Genetics
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010


  • Cyclin-dependent kinase
  • DNA damage response (DDR)
  • DNA repair
  • phosphorylation
  • sumoylation
  • ubiquitylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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