Homologous recombination is essential for DNA repair, replication and the exchange of genetic material between parental chromosomes during meiosis. The stages of recombination involve complex reorganization of DNA structures, and the successful completion of these steps is dependent on the activities of multiple helicase enzymes. Helicases of many different families coordinate the processing of broken DNA ends, and the subsequent formation and disassembly of the recombination intermediates that are necessary for template‐based DNA repair. Loss of recombination‐associated helicase activities can therefore lead to genomic instability, cell death and increased risk of tumor formation. The efficiency of recombination is also influenced by the ‘anti-recombinase’ effect of certain helicases, which can direct DNA breaks toward repair by other pathways. Other helicases regulate the crossover versus non‐crossover outcomes of repair. The use of recombination is increased when replication forks and the transcription machinery collide, or encounter lesions in the DNA template. Successful completion of recombination in these situations is also regulated by helicases, allowing normal cell growth, and the maintenance of genomic integrity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- DNA repair