Rad54, the motor of homologous recombination

DNA Repair (Amst). 2010 Mar 2;9(3):286-302. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2009.12.006. Epub 2010 Jan 20.


Homologous recombination (HR) performs crucial functions including DNA repair, segregation of homologous chromosomes, propagation of genetic diversity, and maintenance of telomeres. HR is responsible for the repair of DNA double-strand breaks and DNA interstrand cross-links. The process of HR is initiated at the site of DNA breaks and gaps and involves a search for homologous sequences promoted by Rad51 and auxiliary proteins followed by the subsequent invasion of broken DNA ends into the homologous duplex DNA that then serves as a template for repair. The invasion produces a cross-stranded structure, known as the Holliday junction. Here, we describe the properties of Rad54, an important and versatile HR protein that is evolutionarily conserved in eukaryotes. Rad54 is a motor protein that translocates along dsDNA and performs several important functions in HR. The current review focuses on the recently identified Rad54 activities which contribute to the late phase of HR, especially the branch migration of Holliday junctions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Helicases / chemistry
  • DNA Helicases / genetics
  • DNA Helicases / metabolism*
  • DNA Repair
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Humans
  • Protein Binding
  • Recombination, Genetic*


  • DNA
  • DNA Helicases