In eukaryotes, meiotic recombination is a major source of genetic diversity, but its defects in humans lead to abnormalities such as Down's, Klinefelter's and other syndromes. Human Dmc1 (hDmc1), a RecA/Rad51 homologue, is a recombinase that plays a crucial role in faithful chromosome segregation during meiosis. The initial step of homologous recombination occurs when hDmc1 forms a filament on single-stranded (ss) DNA. However the structure of this presynaptic complex filament for hDmc1 remains unknown. To compare hDmc1-ssDNA complexes to those known for the RecA/Rad51 family we have obtained electron microscopy (EM) structures of hDmc1-ssDNA nucleoprotein filaments using single particle approach. The EM maps were analysed by docking crystal structures of Dmc1, Rad51, RadA, RecA and DNA. To fully characterise hDmc1-DNA complexes we have analysed their organisation in the presence of Ca2+, Mg 2+, ATP, AMP-PNP, ssDNA and dsDNA. The 3D EM structures of the hDmc1-ssDNA filaments allowed us to elucidate the principles of their internal architecture. Similar to the RecA/Rad51 family, hDmc1 forms helical filaments on ssDNA in two states: extended (active) and compressed (inactive). However, in contrast to the RecA/Rad51 family, and the recently reported structure of hDmc1-double stranded (ds) DNA nucleoprotein filaments, the extended (active) state of the hDmc1 filament formed on ssDNA has nine protomers per helical turn, instead of the conventional six, resulting in one protomer covering two nucleotides instead of three. The control reconstruction of the hDmc1-dsDNA filament revealed 6.4 protein subunits per helical turn indicating that the filament organisation varies depending on the DNA templates. Our structural analysis has also revealed that the N-terminal domain of hDmc1 accomplishes its important role in complex formation through domain swapping between adjacent protomers, thus providing a mechanistic basis for coordinated action of hDmc1 protomers during meiotic recombination.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)