DNA arms do the legwork to ensure the directionality of λ site-specific recombination

Marta Radman-Livaja, Tapan Biswas, Tom Ellenberger, Arthur Landy, Hideki Aihara

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


The integrase protein of bacteriophage λ (Int) catalyzes site-specific recombination between λ phage and Escherichia coli genomes. Int is a tyrosine recombinase that binds to DNA core sites via a C-terminal catalytic domain and to a collection of arm DNA sites, distant from the site of recombination, via its N-terminal domain. The arm sites, in conjunction with accessory DNA-bending proteins, provide a means of regulating the efficiency and directionality of Int-catalyzed recombination. Recent crystal structures of λ Int tetramers bound to synaptic and Holliday junction intermediates, together with new biochemical data, suggest a mechanism for the allosteric control of the recombination reaction through arm DNA binding interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-50
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


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