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Recombination-mediated genome rearrangements

Jerome Savocco and Aurele Piazza (2021)

Current Opinion in Genetics and Development, 71:63-71.

Homologous recombination (HR) is a universal DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair pathway that uses an intact DNA molecule as a template. Signature HR reactions are homology search and DNA strand invasion catalyzed by the prototypical RecA-ssDNA filament (Rad51 and Dmc1 in eukaryotes), which produces heteroduplex DNA-containing joint molecules (JMs). These reactions uniquely infringe on the DNA strands association established at replication, on the basis of substantial sequence similarity. For that reason, and despite the high fidelity of its templated nature, DSB repair by HR authorizes the alteration of genome structure, guided by repetitive DNA elements. The resulting structural variations (SVs) can involve vast genomic regions, potentially affecting multiple coding sequences and regulatory elements at once, with possible pathological consequences. Here, we discuss recent advances in our understanding of genetic and molecular vulnerabilities of HR leading to SVs, and of the various fidelity-enforcing factors acting across scales on the balancing act of this complex pathway. An emphasis is put on extra-chomosomal DNAs, both product of, and substrate for HR-mediated chromosomal rearrangements.
DNA repair, DNA recombination, Rad54, Rad51

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