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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Mar 28;97(7):3358-63.

RecA stimulates sister chromatid exchange and the fidelity of double-strand break repair, but not gene targeting, in plants transformed by Agrobacterium.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Züchtungsforschung, Carl-von-Linne-Weg 10, D-50829 Köln, Germany.


Expression of the bacterial RecA protein in plants stimulates homologous recombination in tobacco. Here we show that RecA plays a direct role in DNA strand exchange in vivo. The number of sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) was increased 2.4-fold over wild type in transgenic tobacco plants expressing a nuclear-targeted RecA (nt-RecA) protein and could not be increased further by DNA damage, which caused a doubling of the baseline SCE frequency in wild-type plants. Although gene targeting requires homologous recombination, the number of targeted gene replacements was not increased markedly by the presence of nt-RecA by using Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. However, the number of double-strand breaks that were repaired at both sides by homologous recombination was increased 3.3-fold. Stimulation of SCE and fidelity of double-strand break repair by nt-RecA, but not by gene targeting, suggests that the stimulatory activity of RecA is linked to active DNA synthesis. Therefore, nascent replication-associated single strands may be a prerequisite for RecA action in plant cells.

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