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EMBO J. 1985 Dec 1;4(12):3321-7.

T4 phage gene uvsX product catalyzes homologous DNA pairing.


Gene uvsX of phage T4 controls genetic recombination and the repair of DNA damage. We have recently purified the gene product, and here describe its properties. The protein has a single-stranded DNA-dependent ATPase activity. It binds efficiently to single- and double-stranded DNAs at 0 degrees C in a cooperative manner. At 30 degree C the double-stranded DNA-protein complex was stable, but the single-stranded DNA-protein complex dissociated rapidly. The instability of the latter complex was reduced by ATP. The protein renatured heat-denatured double-stranded DNA, and assimilated linear single-stranded DNA into homologous superhelical duplexes to produce D-loops. The reaction is stimulated by gene 32 protein when the uvsX protein is limiting. With linear double-stranded DNA and homologous, circular single-stranded DNA, the protein catalyzed single-strand displacement in the 5' to 3' direction with the cooperation of gene 32 protein. All reactions required Mg2+, and all except DNA binding required ATP. We conclude that the uvsX protein is directly involved in strand exchange and is analogous to the recA protein of Escherichia coli. The differences between the uvsX protein and the recA protein, and the role of gene 32 protein in single-strand assimilation and single-strand displacement are briefly discussed.

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