Single-strand annealing (SSA) is a DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair pathway that uses homologous repeats to bridge DSB ends. SSA involving repeats that flank a single DSB causes a deletion rearrangement between the repeats, and hence is relatively mutagenic. Nevertheless, this pathway is conserved, in that SSA events have been found in several organisms. In this review, we describe the mechanism of SSA and its regulation, including the cellular conditions that may favor SSA versus other DSB repair events. We will also evaluate the potential contribution of SSA to cancer-associated genome rearrangements, and to DSB-induced gene targeting.
Keywords: RAD51; RAD52; alternative end joining; end resection; homology directed repair; single-strand annealing.
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