The crystal structures of DNA Holliday junctions

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2001 Jun;11(3):302-8. doi: 10.1016/s0959-440x(00)00219-0.


Nearly 40 years ago, Holliday proposed a four-stranded complex or junction as the central intermediate in the general mechanism of genetic recombination. During the past two years, six single-crystal structures of such DNA junctions have been determined by three different research groups. These structures all essentially adopt the antiparallel stacked-X conformation, but can be classified into three distinct categories: RNA-DNA junctions; ACC trinucleotide junctions; and drug-induced junctions. Together, these structures provide insight into how local and distant interactions help to define the detailed and general physical features of Holliday junctions at the atomic level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Linking Reagents / chemistry
  • Cross-Linking Reagents / metabolism
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Ficusin / chemistry
  • Ficusin / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation


  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • DNA
  • Ficusin