Molecular Life Sciences

Living Edition

Conservative Site-Specific Recombination

Living reference work entry



Conservative site-specific recombination is a process that enables genetic recombination between DNA molecules that contain short DNA sequences, which are bound by specific recombinase proteins. These recombinase proteins belong to one of two families of proteins, the tyrosine recombinases and the serine recombinases. Both recombinase families form covalent bonds between the enzyme and the DNA backbone. Following isomerization, the DNA backbone is rejoined in a process that does not require ATP or metal cofactors. The outcomes of site-specific recombination can include DNA integration, deletion, or inversion. Site-specific recombinases perform a variety of biological functions including integration of bacteriophage DNA into a host genome, resolution of dimer DNA molecules, recombination of antibiotic resistance gene cassettes, and alteration of gene expression. Site-specific recombinases are also actively used as tools in the biotech...


Gene Cassette Recombination Site Integrase Gene Synaptic Complex Tyrosine Recombinases 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Control and Genetics Section, Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology LaboratoryNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthFrederickUSA
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA