Deletion of Hop2 in mice eliminates homologous chromosome synapsis and disrupts double-strand break (DSB) repair through homologous recombination. HOP2 in vitro shows two distinctive activities: when it is incorporated into a HOP2-MND1 complex it stimulates DMC1 and RAD51 recombination activities and the purified HOP2 alone is proficient in promoting strand invasion. We observed that a fraction of Mnd1-/- spermatocytes, which express HOP2 but apparently have inactive DMC1 and RAD51 due to lack of the HOP2-MND1 complex, exhibits a high level of chromosome synapsis and that most DSBs in these spermatocytes are repaired. This suggests that DSB repair catalyzed solely by HOP2 supports homologous chromosome pairing and synapsis. In addition, we show that in vitro HOP2 promotes the co-aggregation of ssDNA with duplex DNA, binds to ssDNA leading to unstacking of the bases, and promotes the formation of a three-strand synaptic intermediate. However, HOP2 shows distinctive mechanistic signatures as a recombinase. Namely, HOP2-mediated strand exchange does not require ATP and, in contrast to DMC1, joint molecules formed by HOP2 are more sensitive to mismatches and are efficiently dissociated by RAD54. We propose that HOP2 may act as a recombinase with specific functions in meiosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas