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Mol Microbiol. 1997 Nov;26(3):597-606.

Repair by recombination of DNA containing a palindromic sequence.

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Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh, UK.


We report here that homologous recombination functions are required for the viability of Escherichia coli cells maintaining a 240 bp chromosomal inverted repeat (palindromic) sequence. Wild-type cells can successfully replicate this palindrome but recA, recB or recC mutants carrying the palindrome are unviable. The dependence on homologous recombination for cell viability is overcome in sbcC mutants. Directly repeated copies of the DNA containing the palindrome are rapidly resolved to single copies in wild-type cells but not in sbcC mutants. Our results suggest that double-strand breaks introduced at the palindromic DNA sequence by the SbcCD nuclease are repaired by homologous recombination. The repair is conservative and the palindrome is retained in the repaired chromosome. We conclude that SbcCD can attack secondary structures but that repair conserves the DNA sequence with the potential to fold.

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