Mismatch repair in replication fidelity, genetic recombination, and cancer biology.
Mismatch repair stabilizes the cellular genome by correcting DNA replication errors and by blocking recombination events between divergent DNA sequences. The reaction responsible for strand-specific correction of mispaired bases has been highly conserved during evolution, and homologs of bacterial MutS and MutL, which play key roles in mismatch recognition and initiation of repair, have been identified in yeast and mammalian cells. Inactivation of genes encoding these activities results in a large increase in spontaneous mutability, and in the case of mice and men, predisposition to tumor development.
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