Office / Lab B18
Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Medicine
Tel: +44 1524 593837
Fax: +44 1524 593192
My research is directed towards understanding the proteins and mechanisms involved in the recombination of homologous DNA molecules. Homologous recombination has an important role in facilitating cell survival following damage to DNA; defects in recombination repair mechanisms can lead to genomic instability and initiation of carcinogenesis.
The goal of my current research is to develop a complete in vitro recombination system with purified human proteins to facilitate a greater understanding of recombination mediated DNA repair in vivo.
We are expressing in E. coli human proteins implicated in homologous recombination and purifying them by column chromatography. Activities of proteins consistent with a role in homologous recombination are assayed using a variety of techniques. This includes electrophoretic assays for DNA binding and strand exchange, thin layer chromatography assays for ATPase activity, and visualisation of protein-DNA complexes by transmission electron microscopy. In addition we are raising antibodies to purified proteins to provide tools to further investigate the inter-relationships between different recombination proteins in cellular immunolocalisation studies and by co-immunoprecipitation.
- BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, Hull University, 1982
- Ph.D. (Genetics) University of Nottingham, 1988
Previous academic positions
- 1987-1989 Postdoctoral research assistant, MRC Radiobiology Unit Harwell
- 1989-1992 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, South Mimms, Herts.
- 1992-1999 Chief Scientific Officer, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, South Mimms, Herts.
Braybrooke JP, Li JL, Wu L, Caple F, Benson FE, Hickson ID. Functional interaction between the Bloom's syndrome helicase and the RAD51 paralog, RAD51L3 (RAD51D). J Biol Chem. 2003 Nov 28; 278(48): 48357-66.
Henry-Mowatt J, Jackson D, Masson JY, Johnson PA, Clements PM, Benson FE, Thompson LH, Takeda S, West SC, Caldecott KW. XRCC3 and Rad51 modulate replication fork progression on damaged vertebrate chromosomes. Mol Cell. 2003 Apr; 11(4): 1109-17.
Benson FE and Carr AM (2002) DNA damage responses: a combination of maintenance and fire-fighting Microbiology Today 29,123-124.
Masson JY, Tarsounas MC, Stasiak AZ, Stasiak A, Shah R, McIlwraith MJ, Benson FE, West SC (2001) Identification and purification of two distinct complexes containing the five RAD51 paralogs. Genes Dev. 2001 15, 3296-307.
Masson JY, Stasiak AZ, Stasiak A, Benson FE and West SC (2001) Complex Formation by the Human RAD51C and XRCC3 Recombination Repair Proteins. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 98, 8440-8446.
McKean PG, Keen JK, Smith DF and Benson FE (2001) Identification and characterisation of a RAD51 gene from Leishmania major. Mol. Biochem. Parasitol. 115, 209-216.
Masson JY, Davies AA, Hajibagheri N, Van Dyck E, Benson FE, Stasiak AZ, Stasiak A, West SC (1999) The meiosis-specific recombinase hDmc1 forms ring structures and interacts with hRad51. EMBO Journal 18, 6552-6560.
Tan TLR, Essers J, Citterio E, Swagemakers SMA, de Wit J, Benson FE, Hoeijmakers JHJ and Kanaar R (1999) Mouse Rad54 affects DNA conformation and DNA-damage-induced Rad51 foci formation. Current Biology 9, 325-328.
Benson FE, Baumann P and West SC (1998) Synergistic Actions of Rad51 and Rad52 in Recombination and DNA Repair. Nature 391, 401-404.
Baumann P, Benson FE, Hajibagheri N. and West SC (1997) Purification of human Rad51 protein by selective spermidine precipitation. Mutation Research DNA Repair 384, 65-72.
Barlow A, Benson FE, West SC and Hulten MA (1997) Distribution of the Rad51 recombinase in human and mouse spermatocytes. The EMBO Journal 16, 5207-5215.
Baumann P, Benson FE and West SC (1996) Human Rad51 protein promotes ATP-dependent homologous pairing and strand transfer reactions in vitro. Cell 87, 757-766.
Flygare J, Benson FE and Hellgren D (1996) Expression of human RAD51 gene during the cell cycle in primary human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1312, 231-236.
Benson FE, Stasiak A and West SC (1994) Purification and characterization of the human Rad51 protein, an analogue of E. coli RecA. The EMBO Journal 13, 5764-5771.
Benson FE and West SC (1994) Substrate Specificity of the E. coli RuvC Protein: Resolution of 3- and 4-Stranded Recombination Intermediates. J. Biol. Chem. 269, 5195-5201.
Hyde H, Davies A, Benson FE and West SC (1994) Resolution of recombination intermediates by a mammalian activity functionally analogous to E. coli RuvC resolvase. J. Biol. Chem. 269, 5202-5209.
West SC, Tsaneva IR, Hiom K and Benson FE (1993) Late steps in genetic recombination: Branch migration and Holliday junction resolution by RuvA, RuvB and RuvC proteins. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology, DNA and Chromosomes - v. 58,.pp 525-531.
West SC, Parsons CA, Bennett RJ, Benson FE, Connolly B, and Dunderdale HJ (1993) Resolution of Holliday junctions by the E. coli RuvC protein. In: Eckstein, F. and Lilley, D.M.J.(eds) Nucleic Acids and Molecular Biology, vol 7. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 190-201.
Dunderdale HJ, Benson FE, Parsons CA, Sharples GS, Lloyd RG and West SC (1991) Formation and resolution of recombination intermediates by E. coli RecA and RuvC proteins. Nature 354, 506-510.
Connolly B, Parsons CA, Benson FE, Dunderdale HJ, Sharples GJ, Lloyd RG and West SC (1991) Genetic recombination and post-replication repair of DNA in E. coli: Resolution of Holliday junctions in vitro requires the ruvC gene product. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 88, 6063-6067.
Benson FE, Collier S and Lloyd RG (1991) Evidence of abortive recombination in ruv mutants of Escherichia coli K-12. Mol. Gen. Genet. 225, 266-272.
Sharples GJ, Benson FE, Illing GT and Lloyd RG (1990) Molecular and functional analysis of the ruv region of Escherichia coli K-12 reveals three genes involved in DNA repair and recombination. Mol. Gen. Genet. 221, 219-226.
Benson FE, Illing GT, Sharples GJ and Lloyd RG (1988) Nucleotide sequencing of the ruv region of Escherichia coli K12 reveals a LexA regulated operon encoding two genes. Nucl. Acids Res. 16, 1541-1549.
Lloyd RG, Buckman C and Benson FE (1987) Genetic analysis of conjugational recombination in Escherichia coli K12 strains deficient in RecBCD enzyme. J. Gen. Microbiol. 133, 2531-2538.
Attfield PV, Benson FE, and Lloyd RG (1985) Analysis of the ruv locus of Escherichia coli K12 and identification of the gene product. J. Bacteriol. 164, 276-281.
Shurvinton CE, Lloyd RG, Benson FE and Attfield PV (1984) Genetic analysis and molecular cloning of the Escherichia coli ruv gene. Mol. Gen. Genet. 194, 322-329.
Lloyd RG, Benson FE, and Shurvinton CE (1984) Effect of ruv mutations on recombination and DNA repair in Escherichia coli. Mol. Gen. Genet. 194, 303-309.