RecO Initiates DNA Recombination and Strand Annealing through Two Alternative DNA-binding Mechanisms [Molecular Biophysics]

August 28th, 2014 by Ryzhikov, M., Gupta, R., Glickman, M., Korolev, S.

Recombination mediator proteins (RMPs) are important for genome stability in all organisms. Several RMPs support two alternative reactions: initiation of homologous recombination and DNA annealing. We examined mechanisms of RMPs in both reactions with Mycobacterium smegmatis (Ms)RecO and demonstrated that MsRecO interacts with ssDNA by two distinct mechanisms. Zinc stimulates MsRecO binding to ssDNA during annealing, while the recombination function is zinc-independent and is regulated by interaction with MsRecR. Thus, different structural motifs or conformations of MsRecO are responsible for interaction with ssDNA during annealing and recombination. Neither annealing nor recombinase loading depends on MsRecO interaction with the conserved SSB C-termini, which is known to bind E. coli RecO. However, similarly to E. coli proteins, MsRecO and MsRecOR do not dismiss SSB from ssDNA, suggesting that RMPs form a complex with SSB/ssDNA even in the absence of binding to the major protein interaction motif. We propose that alternative conformations of such complexes define the mechanism by which RMPs initiate the repair of stalled replication and support two different functions during recombinational repair of DNA breaks.