DNA strand exchange and RecA homologs in meiosis

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2014 Dec 4;7(1):a016659. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a016659.


Homology search and DNA strand-exchange reactions are central to homologous recombination in meiosis. During meiosis, these processes are regulated such that the probability of choosing a homolog chromatid as recombination partner is enhanced relative to that of choosing a sister chromatid. This regulatory process occurs as homologous chromosomes pair in preparation for assembly of the synaptonemal complex. Two strand-exchange proteins, Rad51 and Dmc1, cooperate in regulated homology search and strand exchange in most organisms. Here, we summarize studies on the properties of these two proteins and their accessory factors. In addition, we review current models for the assembly of meiotic strand-exchange complexes and the possible mechanisms through which the interhomolog bias of recombination partner choice is achieved.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Homologous Recombination / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Meiosis / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Rad51 Recombinase / metabolism*
  • Rec A Recombinases / metabolism*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Rad51 Recombinase
  • Rec A Recombinases
  • DMC1 protein, human