Integrative recombination of bacteriophage lambda requires perfect homology between partners over a short segment of DNA, the overlap region, that separates the positions of top and bottom strand exchange. We constructed a specific cross-link between complementary strands in the overlap region of one partner, using a method designed to introduce minimal distortion of DNA. The modified attachment site could initiate recombination, forming a Holliday junction, but could not resolve this junction so as to complete the recombination. This demonstrates that the ability of complementary base-pairs to dissociate is important for overlap region function and strongly supports the view that branch migration across this region is the way homology is sensed during integrative recombination.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology