Alignment of recombination sites in Hin-mediated site-specific DNA recombination.

Genes & development

PubMedID: 1885005

Moskowitz IP, Heichman KA, Johnson RC. Alignment of recombination sites in Hin-mediated site-specific DNA recombination. Genes Dev. 1991;5(9):1635-45.
The Hin site-specific recombination system normally promotes inversion of DNA between two recombination sites in inverted orientation. We show that the rate of deletion of DNA between two directly repeated recombination sites is 10-300 times slower than inversion between sites in their native configuration as measured in vivo and in vitro, respectively. In vitro studies have shown that the deletion reaction has the same requirement for Fis, a recombinational enhancer, and DNA supercoiling as the inversion reaction. These requirements, together with the finding that the deletion products are interlinked once suggest that the deletion synaptic complex is similar to the invertasome intermediate that generates inversion. The inefficiency of the deletion reaction is not a function of a reduced ability to recognize or synapse recombination sites in direct orientation. Not only do these substrates support an efficient knotting reaction, but directly repeated recombination sites with symmetric core sequences also invert efficiently. These findings demonstrate that the recombination sites are preferentially assembled into the invertasome structure with the sites aligned in the configuration for inversion regardless of their starting orientation. We propose that the dynamics of a supercoiled DNA molecule biases the geometric assembly of specific intermediates. In the case of Hin-mediated recombination, inversion is overwhelmingly preferred over deletion because DNA supercoiling favors a specific alignment of DNA strands in the synaptic complex.