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Mol Microbiol. 1997 Apr;24(1):141-53.

Mycobacterial recA is cotranscribed with a potential regulatory gene called recX.

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Division of Mycobacterial Research, National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, UK.


The recA gene of Mycobacterium smegmatis has been cloned and sequenced. The amino acid sequence of the RecA protein is highly homologous to other RecA proteins. Three other potential open reading frames were identified. One of these showed extensive homology to a protein, HypB, involved in the incorporation of nickel into hydrogenases. Another, found downstream of and overlapping recA, was similar to a gene, recX, which has been proposed to play a regulatory role related to recA function. The homology between the M. smegmatis sequence and that of Mycobacterium tuberculosis extended upstream of the recA coding region for 140 bp including a motif identical to the Cheo-box consensus sequence which has been shown to bind LexA. In addition, the transcriptional start sites were found to be identical to those identified previously for M. tuberculosis. Transcriptional fusions to the reporter gene chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) revealed that recA was DNA-damage inducible and that expression required sequences at some distance from the mapped transcriptional start sites. Although a motif with only one mismatch to the Cheo box was found in the intergenic region between orf1 and orf2 these open reading frames were not DNA-damage inducible, nor was this motif required for regulation of recA expression. Gel retardation assays revealed that the reason for this was that LexA did not bind to this sequence containing a mismatch. Reverse transcription/polymerase chain reaction analysis of M. smegmatis RNA demonstrated that recA and orf3 (recX) are within the same transcriptional unit.

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