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Biochimie. 1991 Apr;73(4):375-84.

The recA-recBCD dependent recombination pathways of Serratia marcescens and Proteus mirabilis in Escherichia coli: functions of hybrid enzymes and hybrid pathways.

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Genetik, Fachbereich Biologie, Universit├Ąt Oldenburg, Germany.


The physical maps of cloned recBCD gene regions of Serratia marcescens and Proteus mirabilis were correlated to genes located in this region. The genes thyA, recC, recB, recD and argA were organized as in Escherichia coli. The 3 rec genes code for the 3 different subunits of the RecBCD enzyme and produced enzymes promoting recombination and repair of UV damage in E coli. The recBCD-dependent stimulation of recombination at specific nucleotide sequences called Chi (Chi-activation) was determined in lambda red-gam-crosses. Chi-activation by the different RecBCD enzymes decreased in the order E coli greater than S marcescens greater than P mirabilis. In E coli cloned subunits genes from S marcescens and P mirabilis led to the formation of functional hybrid enzymes consisting of subunits from 2 or even 3 species. The origin of the RecC subunit present in the hybrid enzymes affected the degree of Chi-activation. Further, changes in Chi-activation occurred when the RecD subunit in the enzyme from E coli was replaced by RecD proteins from S marcescens or P mirabilis. This suggested that the RecD subunit determines not only whether or not Chi-activation is possible but also to which extent it occurs. Finally we have reconstituted recombination pathways of S marcescens and P mirabilis by combining the cloned recA and recBCD genes from these species in E coli deleted for recA and recBCD. Both pathways can efficiently promote recombination and repair. Studies are summarized which showed that levels of repair and recombination promoted by the recA-recBCD genes are mostly higher when the recA and recBCD genes came from the same species than from 2 different species (hybrid RecBCD recombination pathway). The data are interpreted to provide evidence that in vivo the RecA protein co-operates with the RecBCD enzyme in recombination and repair of UV damage.

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