In this review we focus on new insights that challenge our understanding of homologous recombination (HR) and Rad51 regulation. Recent advances using high-resolution microscopy and single molecule techniques have broadened our knowledge of Rad51 filament formation and strand invasion at double-strand break (DSB) sites and at replication forks, which are one of most physiologically relevant forms of HR from yeast to humans. Rad51 filament formation and strand invasion is regulated by many mediator proteins such as the Rad51 paralogues and the Shu complex, consisting of a Shu2/SWS1 family member and additional Rad51 paralogues. Importantly, a novel RAD51 paralogue was discovered in Caenorhabditis elegans, and its in vitro characterization has demonstrated a new function for the worm RAD51 paralogues during HR. Conservation of the human RAD51 paralogues function during HR and repair of replicative damage demonstrate how the RAD51 mediators play a critical role in human health and genomic integrity. Together, these new findings provide a framework for understanding RAD51 and its mediators in DNA repair during multiple cellular contexts.
Keywords: DNA replication; RAD51; Rad51 paralogues; Shu complex; complexe Shu; homologous recombination; paralogues de Rad51; recombinaison homologue; réplication d’ADN.