Across the evolutionary spectrum, living organisms depend on high-fidelity DNA replication and recombination mechanisms to maintain genome stability and thus to avoid mutation and disease. The repair of severe lesions in the DNA such as double-strand breaks or stalled replication forks requires the coordinated activities of both the homologous recombination (HR) and DNA replication machineries. Growing evidence indicates that so-called “accessory proteins” in both systems are essential for the effective coupling of recombination to replication which is necessary to restore genome integrity following severe DNA damage. In this article we review the major processes of homology-directed DNA repair (HDR), including the double Holliday Junction (dHJ), synthesis-dependent strand annealing (SDSA), break-induced replication (BIR), and error-free lesion bypass pathways. Each of these pathways involves the coupling of a HR event to DNA synthesis. We highlight two major classes of accessory proteins in recombination and replication that facilitate HDR: Recombination mediator proteins exemplified by T4 UvsY, Saccharomyces cerevisiae Rad52, and human BRCA2; and DNA helicases/translocases exemplified by T4 Gp41/Gp59, E. coli DnaB and PriA, and eukaryotic Mcm2-7, Rad54, and Mph1. We illustrate how these factors help to direct the flow of DNA and protein–DNA intermediates on the pathway from a double-strand break or stalled replication fork to a high-fidelity recombination-dependent replication apparatus that can accurately repair the damage. J. Cell. Biochem. 112: 2672–2682, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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