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J Biol Chem. 2003 May 2;278(18):16389-96. Epub 2003 Feb 20.

The C terminus of the Escherichia coli RecA protein modulates the DNA binding competition with single-stranded DNA-binding protein.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, 433 Babcock Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


The nucleation step of Escherichia coli RecA filament formation on single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) is strongly inhibited by prebound E. coli ssDNA-binding protein (SSB). The capacity of RecA protein to displace SSB is dramatically enhanced in RecA proteins with C-terminal deletions. The displacement of SSB by RecA protein is progressively improved when 6, 13, and 17 C-terminal amino acids are removed from the RecA protein relative to the full-length protein. The C-terminal deletion mutants also more readily displace yeast replication protein A than does the full-length protein. Thus, the RecA protein has an inherent and robust capacity to displace SSB from ssDNA. However, the displacement function is suppressed by the RecA C terminus, providing another example of a RecA activity with C-terminal modulation. RecADeltaC17 also has an enhanced capacity relative to wild-type RecA protein to bind ssDNA containing secondary structure. Added Mg(2+) enhances the ability of wild-type RecA and the RecA C-terminal deletion mutants to compete with SSB and replication protein A. The overall binding of RecADeltaC17 mutant protein to linear ssDNA is increased further by the mutation E38K, previously shown to enhance SSB displacement from ssDNA. The double mutant RecADeltaC17/E38K displaces SSB somewhat better than either individual mutant protein under some conditions and exhibits a higher steady-state level of binding to linear ssDNA under all conditions.

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