Mismatch repair proteins: key regulators of genetic recombination

Cytogenet Genome Res. 2004;107(3-4):146-59. doi: 10.1159/000080593.


Mismatch repair (MMR) systems are central to maintaining genome stability in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. MMR proteins play a fundamental role in avoiding mutations, primarily by removing misincorporation errors that occur during DNA replication. MMR proteins also act during genetic recombination in steps that include repairing mismatches in heteroduplex DNA, modulating meiotic crossover control, removing 3' non-homologous tails during double-strand break repair, and preventing recombination between divergent sequences. In this review we will, first, discuss roles for MMR proteins in repairing mismatches that occur during recombination, particularly during meiosis. We will also explore how studying this process has helped to refine models of double-strand break repair, and particularly to our understanding of gene conversion gradients. Second, we will examine the role of MMR proteins in repressing homeologous recombination, i.e. recombination between divergent sequences. We will also compare the requirements for MMR proteins in preventing homeologous recombination to the requirements for these proteins in mismatch repair.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Pair Mismatch / genetics*
  • DNA Repair / genetics
  • DNA Repair / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Meiosis
  • Models, Genetic
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Recombination, Genetic / physiology*


  • Proteins