Holliday junctions in the eukaryotic nucleus: resolution in sight?

Trends Biochem Sci. 2003 Oct;28(10):548-57. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2003.08.011.


The Holliday junction is a key recombination intermediate whose resolution generates crossovers. Interplay between recombination, repair and replication has moved the Holliday junction to the center stage of nuclear DNA metabolism. Holliday junction resolvases in the eukaryotic nucleus have long eluded identification. The endonucleases Mus81/Mms4-Eme1 and XPF-MEI-9/MUS312 are structurally related to the archaeal resolvase Hjc and were found to be involved in crossover formation in budding yeast and flies, respectively. Although these endonucleases might represent one class of eukaryotic resolvases, their substrate preference opens up the possibility that junctions other than classical Holliday junctions might contribute to crossovers. Holliday junction resolution to non-crossover products can also be achieved topologically, for example, by the action of RecQ-like DNA helicases combined with topoisomerase III.

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

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Phenotype
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins