Holliday junction resolvases
Four-way DNA intermediates, called Holliday junctions (HJs), can form during meiotic and mitotic recombination, and their removal is crucial for chromosome segregation. A group of ubiquitous and highly specialized structure-selective endonucleases catalyze the cleavage of HJs into two disconnected DNA duplexes in a reaction called HJ resolution. These enzymes, called HJ resolvases, have been identified in bacteria and their bacteriophages, archaea, and eukaryotes. In this review, we discuss fundamental aspects of the HJ structure and their interaction with junction-resolving enzymes. This is followed by a brief discussion of the eubacterial RuvABC enzymes, which provide the paradigm for HJ resolvases in other organisms. Finally, we review the biochemical and structural properties of some well-characterized resolvases from archaea, bacteriophage, and eukaryotes.