Two auxiliary factors promote Dmc1-driven DNA strand exchange via stepwise mechanisms



Homologous recombination (HR) is a universal mechanism operating in somatic and germ-line cells, where it contributes to the maintenance of genome stability and ensures the faithful distribution of genetic material, respectively. The ability to identify and exchange the strands of two homologous DNA molecules lies at the heart of HR and is mediated by RecA-family recombinases. Dmc1 is a meiosis-specific RecA homolog in eukaryotes, playing a predominant role in meiotic HR. However, Dmc1 cannot function without its two major auxiliary factor complexes, Swi5-Sfr1 and Hop2-Mnd1. Through biochemical reconstitutions, we demonstrate that Swi5-Sfr1 and Hop2-Mnd1 make unique contributions to stimulate Dmc1-driven strand exchange in a synergistic manner. Mechanistically, Swi5-Sfr1 promotes establishment of the Dmc1 nucleoprotein filament, whereas Hop2-Mnd1 defines a critical, rate-limiting step in initiating strand exchange. Following execution of this function, we propose that Swi5-Sfr1 then promotes strand exchange with Hop2-Mnd1. Thus, our findings elucidate distinct yet complementary roles of two auxiliary factors in Dmc1-driven strand exchange, providing mechanistic insights into some of the most critical steps in meiotic HR.



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