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Genetics. 1995 Nov;141(3):805-12.

Chi recombination activity in phage lambda decays as a function of genetic distance.

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Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene 97403-1229, USA.


In Escherichia coli, chi is a recombination hotspot that stimulates RecBCD-dependent exchange at and to one side of itself. chi activity is highest at chi and decreases with distance from chi. The decrease in chi activity may be a simple property of the physical distance over which chi can stimulate recombination. Alternatively, the decay in chi activity with distance may reflect the high likelihood that chi-stimulated recombination occurs in a single chi-proximal act, to the exclusion of additional chi-stimulated exchanges more distal to chi. To test the models, we determined if chi activity decreases as a function of physical distance (i.e., DNA base pairs) or genetic distance (homologous DNA base pairs). Our results indicate that chi activity decays as a function of genetic distance. In addition, we found that the sbcB gene product (exonuclease I, a 3'-->5' ssDNA exonuclease) modulates the distance over which chi can act. In contrast, the recJ gene product (a 5'-->3' ssDNA exonuclease) does not alter the decay of chi activity.

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