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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Apr 15;94(8):3714-9.

recF and recR are required for the resumption of replication at DNA replication forks in Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, CA 94305-5020, USA.


Escherichia coli containing a mutation in recF are hypersensitive to UV. However, they exhibit normal levels of conjugational or transductional recombination unless the major pathway (recBC) is defective. This implies that the UV sensitivity of recF mutants is not due to a defect in recombination such as occurs during conjugation or transduction. Here, we show that when replication is disrupted, at least two genes in the recF pathway, recF and recR, are required for the resumption of replication at DNA replication forks, and that in their absence, localized degradation occurs at the replication forks. Our observations support a model in which recF and recR are required to reassemble a replication holoenzyme at the site of a DNA replication fork. These results, when taken together with previous literature, suggest that the UV hypersensitivity of recF cells is due to an inability to resume replication at disrupted replication forks rather than to a defect in recombination. Current biochemical and genetic data on the conditions under which recF-mediated recombination occurs suggest that the recombinational intermediate also may mimic the structure of a disrupted replication fork.

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