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J Bacteriol. 1993 Nov;175(22):7269-81.

Structural organization, nucleotide sequence, and regulation of the Haemophilus influenzae rec-1+ gene.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore 21201.


The Haemophilus influenzae rec-1+ protein plays a central role in DNA metabolism, participating in general homologous recombination, recombinational (postreplication) DNA repair, and prophage induction. Although many H. influenzae rec-1 mutants have been phenotypically characterized, little is known about the rec-1+ gene at the molecular level. In this study, we present the genetic organization of the rec-1+ locus, the DNA sequence of rec-1+, and studies of the transcriptional regulation of rec-1+ during cellular assault by DNA-damaging agents and during the induction of competence for genetic transformation. Although little is known about promoter structure in H. influenzae, we identified a potential rec-1+ promoter that is identical in 11 of 12 positions to the bacterial sigma 70-dependent promoter consensus sequence. Results from a primer extension analysis revealed that the start site of rec-1+ transcription is centered 6 nucleotides downstream of this promoter. We identified potential DNA binding sites in the rec-1+ gene for LexA, integration host factor, and cyclic AMP receptor protein. We obtained evidence that at least one of the proposed cyclic AMP receptor protein binding sites is active in modulating rec-1+ transcription. This finding makes rec-1+ control circuitry novel among recA+ homologs. Two H. influenzae DNA uptake sequences that may function as a transcription termination signal were identified in inverted orientations at the end of the rec-1+ coding sequence. In addition, we report the first use of the Escherichia coli lacZ operon fusion technique in H. influenzae to study the transcriptional control of rec-1+. Our results indicate that rec-1+ is transcriptionally induced about threefold during DNA-damaging events. Furthermore, we show that rec-1+ can substitute for recA+ in E. coli to modulate SOS induction of dinB1 expression. Surprisingly, although 5% of the H. influenzae genome is in the form of single-stranded DNA during competence for genetic transformation, an event that could be a potent SOS-inducing signal, we failed to detect significant changes in rec-1+ transcription during the induction of genetic competence.

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