The evolutionarily conserved Hop2-Mnd1 complex is a key cofactor for the meiosis-specific recombinase Dmc1. However, emerging evidence has revealed that Hop2-Mnd1 is expressed in somatic tissues, primary human fibroblasts and cell lines, and that it functions in conjunction with the Rad51 recombinase to repair damaged telomeres via the alternate lengthening of telomeres mechanism. Here, we reveal how distinct DNA-binding activities of Hop2-Mnd1 mediate the stabilization of the RAD51-ssDNA presynaptic filament or stimulate the homologous DNA pairing reaction. We have also endeavored to define the interface that governs the assembly of the higher order complex of Hop2-Mnd1 with RAD51. Unexpectedly, we find that ATP enhances the interaction between Hop2-Mnd1 and RAD51, and that both Hop2 and Mnd1 are involved in RAD51 interaction via their C-terminal regions. Importantly, mutations introduced into these Hop2 and Mnd1 domains, including the HOP2 p.del201Glu mutation present in a patient of XX ovarian dysgenesis, diminish the association and functional synergy of Hop2-Mnd1 with both RAD51 and DMC1. Our findings help delineate the intricate manner in which Hop2-Mnd1 engages and functions with RAD51 and DMC1 in mammalian cells and speak to the possible cause of XX ovarian dysgenesis.
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