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J Bacteriol. 1996 Jul; 178(13): 3840–3845.
PMCID: PMC232644

Plasmid recombination by the RecBCD pathway of Escherichia coli.


Previously, we demonstrated that exonuclease I-deficient strains of Escherichia coli accumulate high-molecular-weight linear plasmid concatemers when transformed with plasmids carrying the chi sequence (5'- GCTGGTGG-3') (M. M. Zaman and T. C. Boles, J. Bacteriol. 176:5093-5100, 1994). Since high-molecular weight linear DNA is believed to be the natural substrate for RecBCD-mediated recombination during conjugation (A. J. Clark and K. B. Low, p. 155-215, in K. B. Low, ed., The Recombination of Genetic Material, 1988), we analyzed the recombination frequencies of chi+ and chi0 plasmids in sbcB strains. Here, we report that chi sites stimulate plasmid recombination frequency by 16-fold in sbcB strains. Chi-stimulated plasmid recombination is dependent on RecBCD but is independent of RecF pathway genes. The distribution of recombination products suggests that high-molecular-weight linear plasmid DNA is a substrate for RecBCD-mediated recombination. Surprisingly, our data also suggest that chi+ plasmids also recombine by the RecBCD pathway in rec+ sbcB+ cells.

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Selected References

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