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Analysis of the mechanism of DNA recombination using tangles

  • De Witt Sumners (a1) (a2), Claus Ernst (a3), Sylvia J. Spengler (a2) and Nicholas R. Cozzarelli (a2) (a4)

The DNA of all organisms has a complex and essential topology. The three topological properties of naturally occurring DNA are supercoiling, catenation, and knotting. Although these properties are denned rigorously only for closed circular DNA, even linear DNA in vivo can have topological properties because it is divided into topologically separate subdomains (Drlica 1987; Roberge & Gasser, 1992). The essentiality of topological properties is demonstrated by the lethal consequence of interfering with topoisomerases, the enzymes that regulate the level of DNA supercoiling and that unlink DNA during its replication (reviewed in Wang, 1991; Bjornsti, 1991; Drlica, 1992; Ullsperger et al. 1995).

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