The mechanics of winding and unwinding helices in recombination: torsional stress associated with strand transfer promoted by RecA protein
Honigberg, S.M.; Radding, C.M.
Cell 54(4): 525-532
Homologous recombination usually involves the production of heteroduplex DNA, DNA containing strands contributed from two different duplexes. RecA protein of E. coli can promote the formation of heteroduplex DNA in vitro by the exchange of DNA strands between two helical structures, duplex DNA and a helical recA nucleoprotein filament containing a single strand of DNA. Complete unwinding of the parental duplex and the rewinding of one strand with a new complement requires rotation of the helical structures about one another, or about their respective longitudinal axes. The observations described here demonstrate an association of torsional stress with strand exchange, and suggest that exchange is accomplished principally by concomitant rotation of duplex DNA and the recA nucleoprotein filament, each about its longitudinal axis.