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Biochimie. 1991 Feb-Mar;73(2-3):313-20.

Overlapping functions of recD, recJ and recN provide evidence of three epistatic groups of genes in Escherichia coli recombination and DNA repair.

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Department of Genetics, University of Nottingham, Queens Medical Centre, UK.


The recD, recJ and recN genes of Escherichia coli K-12 have been shown to be involved in genetic recombination and DNA repair in this organism. Yet, mutation of any one of these genes does not seem to interfere much with the recovery of recombinants from conjugational crosses. Strains carrying all possible combinations of mutations inactivating these genes were constructed and examined for their recombination proficiency and sensitivity to UV light. The recD recJ and recJ recN double mutants are moderately sensitive to UV light and slightly deficient in recombination. A combination of mutations in all 3 genes produced strains that are very deficient in recombination (50- to 100-fold reduction) and strikingly sensitive to UV light. We conclude that these genes provide overlapping activities that compensate for one another in the single mutants. On the basis of these and other data, recombination genes are classified into 3 epistatic groups that define activities which function pre-synaptically or post-synaptically to promote genetic exchanges catalysed by RecA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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