Eukaryotic Recombination: Initiation by Double‐strand Breaks


A double‐strand break in one deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) double helix, possibly caused by DNA damaging agents such as ionizing radiation or normal metabolic processes, stimulates repair by a pathway of recombination that uses a second unbroken DNA double helix containing homologous sequences as a donor of genetic information to restore the intact DNA structure.

Keywords: DNA repair; double‐strand break; genome stability; recombination

Figure 1.

Two models for double‐strand break (DSB)‐induced recombination. Following a double‐strand break in one DNA helix, a processed end can invade a homologous template to initiate repair. This process may either proceed by a replication‐based mechanism that results in gene conversion products, or by the classical double‐strand repair model that can result in both crossover and noncrossover products, depending on resolution of the Holliday junction intermediate.

Figure 2.

Model for mating‐type switching in yeast. Following a double‐strand break at one locus by the HO endonuclease, invasion of a single‐strand tail from the broken MAT locus into the unbroken donor leads to a replication‐based recombination event in which gene conversion leads to mating‐type switching.



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Further Reading

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Richardson, Christine, and Jasin, Maria(Apr 2001) Eukaryotic Recombination: Initiation by Double‐strand Breaks. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000577]