Overexpression of Rad51 protein stimulates homologous recombination and increases resistance of mammalian cells to ionizing radiation

Nucleic Acids Res. 1998 Jun 15;26(12):2859-64. doi: 10.1093/nar/26.12.2859.


Rad51 proteins share both structural and functional homologies with the bacterial recombinase RecA. The human Rad51 (HsRad51) is able to catalyse strand exchange between homologous DNA molecules in vitro . However the biological functions of Rad51 in mammals are largely unknown. In order to address this question, we have cloned hamster Rad51 cDNA and overexpressed the corresponding protein in CHO cells. We found that 2-3-fold overexpression of the protein stimulated the homologous recombination between integrated genes by 20-fold indicating that Rad51 is a functional and key enzyme of an intrachromosomal recombination pathway. Cells overexpressing Rad51 were resistant to ionizing radiation when irradiated in late S/G2phase of the cell cycle. This suggests that Rad51 participate in the repair of double-strand breaks most likely by homologous recombination involving sister chromatids formed after the S phase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cricetinae
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair / physiology
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • G2 Phase
  • Gamma Rays*
  • Gene Expression
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagens / pharmacology
  • Rad51 Recombinase
  • Radiation Tolerance / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Mutagens
  • Rad51 Recombinase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/Y08202