Human Rad54 protein stimulates human Mus81-Eme1 endonuclease

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32 Scopus citations


Rad54, a key protein of homologous recombination, physically interacts with a DNA structure-specific endonuclease, Mus81-Eme1. Genetic data indicate that Mus81-Eme1 and Rad54 might function together in the repair of damaged DNA. In vitro, Rad54 promotes branch migration of Holliday junctions, whereas the Mus81-Eme1 complex resolves DNA junctions by endonucleolytic cleavage. Here, we show that human Rad54 stimulates Mus81-Eme1 endonuclease activity on various Holliday junction-like intermediates. This stimulation is the product of specific interactions between the human Rad54 (hRad54) and Mus81 proteins, considering that Saccharomyces cerevisiae Rad54 protein does not stimulate human Mus81-Eme1 endonuclease activity. Stimulation of Mus81-Eme1 cleavage activity depends on formation of specific Rad54 complexes on DNA substrates occurring in the presence of ATP and, to a smaller extent, of other nucleotide cofactors. Thus, our results demonstrate a functional link between the branch migration activity of hRad54 and the structure-specific endonuclease activity of hMus81-Eme1, suggesting that the Rad54 and Mus81-Eme1 proteins may cooperate in the processing of Holliday junction-like intermediates during homologous recombination or DNA repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18249-18254
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 25 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Branch migration
  • Holliday junction resolution
  • Homologous recombination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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