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Clarifying the mechanics of DNA strand exchange in meiotic recombination

Abstract

During meiosis, accurate separation of maternal and paternal chromosomes requires that they first be connected to one another through homologous recombination. Meiotic recombination has many intriguing but poorly understood features that distinguish it from recombination in mitotically dividing cells, and several of these features depend on the meiosis-specific DNA strand exchange protein Dmc1 (disrupted meiotic cDNA1). Many questions about this protein have arisen since its discovery more than a decade ago, but recent genetic and biochemical breakthroughs promise to shed light on the unique behaviours and functions of this central player in the remarkable chromosome dynamics of meiosis.

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Figure 1: Connections formed between homologous chromosomes during meiosis.
Figure 2: DNA events in meiotic recombination.
Figure 3: The DNA strand exchange reaction.
Figure 4: Oligomeric structure of Dmc1 nucleoprotein complexes.

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Acknowledgements

Work from the authors' laboratory is supported by a grant from the US National Institutes of Health (to S.K.). M.J.N. is supported in part by a fellowship from the Human Frontiers Science Program. S.K. is a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar.

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Neale, M., Keeney, S. Clarifying the mechanics of DNA strand exchange in meiotic recombination. Nature 442, 153–158 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04885

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