Strand exchange in lambda integrative recombination: genetics, biochemistry, and models.

H. A. Nash, K. Mizuuchi, L. W. Enquist, R. A. Weisberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


We have asked, "What is the mechanism of strand exchange during site-specific recombination of phage lambda?" Crosses carried out in vivo have shown that the recombination joint can be extended rather than flush and that the four-strand breaks and rejoinings needed to from a recombinant can occur asynchronously. Crosses carried out in vitro have shown that all the nucleotides at the site of crossover are conserved during recombination, as are most or all of the superhelical turns present in the substrate molecules. We have presented new data showing that topoisomerase activity of Int protein relaxes DNA by making transient single-strand, rather than double-strand, breaks in the phosphodiester back-bone. These findings are incorporated into a model for strand exchange that has as its central intermediate a four-strand structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-428
Number of pages12
JournalCold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology
Volume45 Pt 1
StatePublished - 1981

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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