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J Bacteriol. 1988 May;170(5):2012-21.

Modulation of Escherichia coli RecBCD activity by the bacteriophage lambda Gam and P22 Abc functions.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Massachusetts, Worcester 01605.


Plasmids that express the bacteriophage lambda gam gene or the P22 abc2 gene (with and without abc1) at controllable levels were placed in Escherichia coli and tested for effects on the activity of RecBCD. Like Gam, Abc2 inhibited the ATP-dependent exonuclease activity of RecBCD, apparently not by binding to DNA. However, Abc2-mediated inhibition was partial, while Gam-mediated inhibition was complete. Both Abc2 and Gam inhibited host system-mediated homologous recombination in a Chi-containing interval in the chromosome of a hybrid lambda phage; Abc2 inhibited it more strongly than Gam. Gam but not Abc2 spared a phage T4 gene 2 mutant from restriction by RecBCD; Abc2 exhibited weak sparing activity in combination with Abc1 and substantial activity in combination with both Abc1 and P22 homologous recombination function Erf. Either Gam or the combination of the lambda recombination functions Exo and Bet was sufficient to induce a mode of plasmid replication that produced linear multimers. The combination of Abc2, Abc1, and Erf also exhibited this activity. However, Erf was inactive, both by itself and in combination with Abc1; Abc2 had weak activity. These results indicate that Gam and Abc2 modulate the activity of RecBCD in significantly different ways. In comparison with lambda Gam, P22 Abc2 has a weak effect on RecBCD nuclease activity but a strong effect on its recombination-promoting activity.

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