Construction and analysis of parallel and antiparallel holliday junctions

Amy Kimball, Qiu Guo, Min Lu, Richard P. Cunningham, Neville R. Kallenbach, Nadrian C. Seeman, Thomas D. Tullius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Holliday junction is a four-stranded DNA intermediate that arises during recombination reactions. We have designed and constructed a set of Holliday junction analogs that model each of the ideal conformations available to a 2-fold symmetric four-arm junction. The strategy used is to connect two arms of a junction molecule with a short tether of thymidines. These DNA molecules share a common core sequence but have different arms that are connected so that each molecule is constrained in either an antiparallel or a parallel structure. For tethered antiparallel molecules the identity of the crossover strands is determined by which arms are connected. Different arm connections gave molecules representing each of the two antiparallel crossover isomers. Two parallel molecules that differ in the length and position of the tether exhibit opposite biases in their choice of crossover strands. Thus, a physical constraint applied at a distance from the branch point can determine the conformation of a junction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6544-6547
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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