The Msh2-Msh3 heterodimer recognizes various DNA mispairs, including loops of DNA ranging from 1 to 14 nucleotides and some base-base mispairs. Homology modeling of the mispair-binding domain (MBD) of Msh3 using the related Msh6 MBD revealed that mismatch recognition must be different, even though the MBD folds must be similar. Model-based point mutation alleles of Saccharomyces cerevisiae msh3 designed to disrupt mispair recognition fell into two classes. One class caused defects in repair of both small and large insertion/deletion mispairs, whereas the second class caused defects only in the repair of small insertion/deletion mispairs; mutations of the first class also caused defects in the removal of nonhomologous tails present at the ends of double-strand breaks (DSBs) during DSB repair, whereas mutations of the second class did not cause defects in the removal of nonhomologous tails during DSB repair. Thus, recognition of small insertion/deletion mispairs by Msh3 appears to require a greater degree of interactions with the DNA conformations induced by small insertion/deletion mispairs than with those induced by large insertion/deletions that are intrinsically bent and strand separated. Mapping of the two classes of mutations onto the Msh3 MBD model appears to distinguish mispair recognition regions from DNA stabilization regions
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