A Holliday recombination intermediate is twofold symmetric

M. E.A. Churchill, T. D. Tullius, N. R. Kallenbach, N. C. Seeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Four-arm Holliday structures are ephemeral intermediates in genetic recombination. We have used an oligodeoxynucleotide system to form immobile DNA junction, which are stable analogs of Holliday structures. We have probed the equilibrium structure of a junction by means of hydroxyl radicals generated by the reaction of iron(II)EDTA with hydrogen peroxide. The hydroxyl radical cleavage pattern shows twofold symmetry throughout the molecule. Strong protection from hydroxyl radical attack is evident on two strands near the branch site, and weaker protection may be seen four or five residues 3' to the branch site on the other two strands. No other position appears significantly distinct from double-helical DNA controls. From these data, we conclude that the Holliday junctions is a twofold symmetric complex whose four arms form two stacking domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4653-4656
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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