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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Nov;38(3):565-74.

RuvABC-dependent double-strand breaks in dnaBts mutants require recA.

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Laboratoire de Génétique Microbienne, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, 78352 Jouy en Josas Cedex, France.


Replication fork arrest can cause DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). These DSBs are caused by the action of the Holliday junction resolvase RuvABC, indicating that they are made by resolution of Holliday junctions formed at blocked forks. In this work, we study the homologous recombination functions required for RuvABC-mediated breakage in cells deficient for the accessory replicative helicase Rep or deficient for the main Escherichia coli replicative helicase DnaB. We show that, in the rep mutant, RuvABC-mediated breakage occurs in the absence of the homologous recombination protein RecA. In contrast, in dnaBts mutants, most of the RuvABC-mediated breakage depends on the presence of RecA, which suggests that RecA participates in the formation of Holliday junctions at forks blocked by the inactivation of DnaB. This action of RecA does not involve the induction of the SOS response and does not require any of the recombination proteins essential for the presynaptic step of homologous recombination, RecBCD, RecF or RecO. Consequently, our observations suggest a new function for RecA at blocked replication forks, and we propose that RecA acts by promoting homologous recombination without the assistance of known presynaptic proteins.

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