Biochemical attributes of mitotic and meiotic presynaptic complexes

DNA Repair (Amst). 2018 Nov:71:148-157. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2018.08.018. Epub 2018 Aug 23.


Homologous recombination (HR) is a universally conserved mechanism used to maintain genomic integrity. In eukaryotes, HR is used to repair the spontaneous double strand breaks (DSBs) that arise during mitotic growth, and the programmed DSBs that form during meiosis. The mechanisms that govern mitotic and meiotic HR share many similarities, however, there are also several key differences, which reflect the unique attributes of each process. For instance, even though many of the proteins involved in mitotic and meiotic HR are the same, DNA target specificity is not: mitotic DSBs are repaired primarily using the sister chromatid as a template, whereas meiotic DBSs are repaired primarily through targeting of the homologous chromosome. These changes in template specificity are induced by expression of meiosis-specific HR proteins, down-regulation of mitotic HR proteins, and the formation of meiosis-specific chromosomal structures. Here, we compare and contrast the biochemical properties of key recombination intermediates formed during the pre-synapsis phase of mitotic and meiotic HR. Throughout, we try to highlight unanswered questions that will shape our understanding of how homologous recombination contributes to human cancer biology and sexual reproduction.

Keywords: Dmc1; Homologous recombination; Meiotic recombination; Mitotic recombination; Presynaptic complex; Rad51.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Pairing
  • Eukaryota / genetics
  • Eukaryota / physiology
  • Homologous Recombination*
  • Humans
  • Meiosis*
  • Mitosis*
  • Rad51 Recombinase / metabolism


  • Rad51 Recombinase