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Genetics. 1992 Jan; 130(1): 37–49.
PMCID: PMC1204803

Restriction-Stimulated Homologous Recombination of Plasmids by the Rece Pathway of Escherichia Coli


To test the double-strand break (DSB) repair model in recombination by the RecE pathway of Escherichia coli, we constructed chimeric phages that allow restriction-mediated release of linear plasmid substrates of the bioluminescence recombination assay in infected EcoRI(+) cells. Kinetics of DSB repair and expression of recombination products were followed by Southern hybridization and by the bioluminescence recombination assay, respectively. Plasmid recombinants were analyzed with restriction endonucleases. Our results indicate that a DSB can induce more than one type of RecE-mediated recombination. A DSB within the homology induced intermolecular recombination that followed the rules of the DSB repair model: (1) Recombination was enhanced by in vivo restriction. (2) Repair of the break depended on homologous sequences on the resident plasmid. (3) Break-repair was frequently associated with conversion of alleles that were cis to the break. (4) Conversion frequency decreased as the distance from the break increased. (5) Some clones contained a mixture of plasmid recombinants as expected by replication of a heteroduplex in the primary recombinant. The rules of the DSB repair model were not followed when recombination was induced by a DSB outside the homology. Both the cut and the uncut substrates were recipients in conversion events. Recombination events were associated with deletions that spanned the break site, but these deletions did not reach the homology. We propose that a break outside the homology may stimulate a RecE-mediated recombination pathway that does not involve direct participation of DNA ends in the homologous pairing reaction.

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Selected References

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