The RAD52 epistasis group genes are involved in homologous recombination, and they are conserved from yeast to humans. We have cloned a novel human gene, RAD54B, which is homologous to yeast and human RAD54. Human Rad54B (hRad54B) shares high homology with human Rad54 (hRad54) in the central region containing the helicase motifs characteristic of the SNF2/SW12 family of proteins, but the N-terminal domain is less conserved. In yeast, another RAD54 homolog, TID1/RDH54, plays a role in recombination. Tid1/Rdh54 interacts with yeast Rad51 and a meiosis-specific Rad51 homolog, Dmc1. The N-terminal domain of hRad54B shares homology with that of Tid1/Rdh54, suggesting that Rad54B may be the human counterpart of Tid1/Rdh54. We purified the hRad54 and hRad54B proteins from baculovirus-infected insect cells and examined their biochemical properties. hRad54B, like hRad54, is a DNA-binding protein and hydrolyzes ATP in the presence of double-stranded DNA, though its rate of ATP hydrolysis is lower than that of hRad54. Human Rad51 interacts with hRad54 and enhances its ATPase activity. In contrast, neither human Rad51 nor Dmc1 directly interacts with hRad54B. Although hRad54B is the putative counterpart of Tid1/Rdh54, our findings suggest that hRad54B behaves differently from Tid1/Rdh54.
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