Small Rad51 and Dmc1 Complexes Often Co-occupy Both Ends of a Meiotic DNA Double Strand Break

PLoS Genet. 2015 Dec 31;11(12):e1005653. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005653. eCollection 2015 Dec.


The Eukaryotic RecA-like proteins Rad51 and Dmc1 cooperate during meiosis to promote recombination between homologous chromosomes by repairing programmed DNA double strand breaks (DSBs). Previous studies showed that Rad51 and Dmc1 form partially overlapping co-foci. Here we show these Rad51-Dmc1 co-foci are often arranged in pairs separated by distances of up to 400 nm. Paired co-foci remain prevalent when DSBs are dramatically reduced or when strand exchange or synapsis is blocked. Super-resolution dSTORM microscopy reveals that individual foci observed by conventional light microscopy are often composed of two or more substructures. The data support a model in which the two tracts of ssDNA formed by a single DSB separate from one another by distances of up to 400 nm, with both tracts often bound by one or more short (about 100 nt) Rad51 filaments and also by one or more short Dmc1 filaments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chromosome Pairing
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded*
  • DNA, Single-Stranded
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Meiosis*
  • Multiprotein Complexes / genetics
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Rad51 Recombinase / genetics
  • Rad51 Recombinase / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sister Chromatid Exchange


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DMC1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • DNA, Single-Stranded
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • RAD51 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Rad51 Recombinase