The DMC1 protein, a meiosis-specific DNA recombinase, promotes homologous pairing and strand exchange. The I37N single nucleotide polymorphism of the human DMC1 protein was reported as a result of human genome sequencing projects. In this study, we purified the human DMC1-I37N variant, as a recombinant protein. The DMC1 protein is known to require DNA for efficient ATP hydrolysis. By contrast, the DMC1-I37N variant efficiently hydrolyzed ATP in the absence of DNA. Like the conventional DMC1 protein, the DMC1-I37N variant promoted strand exchange, but it required a high Ca2+ concentration (4-8 mm), a condition that inactivates the strand-exchange activity of the conventional DMC1 protein. These biochemical differences between the DMC1 and DMC1-I37N proteins suggest that the DMC1-I37N polymorphism may be a source of improper meiotic recombination, causing meiotic defects in humans.
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