Cre induces an asymmetric DNA bend in its target loxP site

Linda Lee, Linda C.H. Chu, Paul D. Sadowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Cre initiates recombination by preferentially exchanging the bottom strands of the loxP site to form a Holliday intermediate, which is then resolved on the top strands. We previously found that the scissile AT and GC base pairs immediately 5′ to the scissile phosphodiester bonds are critical in determining this order of strand exchange. We report here that the scissile base pairs also influence the Cre-induced DNA bends, the position of which correlates with the initial site of strand exchange. The binding of one Cre molecule to a loxP site induces a ∼35° asymmetric bend adjacent to the scissile GC base pair. The binding of two Cre molecules to a loxP site induces a ∼55° asymmetric bend near the center of the spacer region with a slight bias toward the scissile A. Lys-86, which contacts the scissile nucleotides, is important for establishing the bend near the scissile GC base pair when one Cre molecule is bound but has little role in positioning the bend when two Cre molecules are bound to a loxP site. We present a model relating the position of the Cre-induced bends to the order of strand exchange in the Cre-catalyzed recombination reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23118-23129
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 20 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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