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Genetics. 1990 Sep;126(1):25-40.

Genetic dissection of the biochemical activities of RecBCD enzyme.

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98104.


RecBCD enzyme of Escherichia coli is required for the major pathway of homologous recombination following conjugation. The enzyme has an ATP-dependent DNA unwinding activity, ATP-dependent single-stranded (ss) and double-stranded (ds) DNA exonuclease activities, and an activity that makes a ss DNA endonucleolytic cut near Chi sites. We have isolated and characterized ten mutations that reduced recombination proficiency and inactivated some, but not all, activities of RecBCD enzyme. One class of mutants had weak ds DNA exonuclease activity and lacked Chi-dependent DNA cleavage activity, a second class lacked only Chi-dependent DNA cleavage activity, and a third class retained all activities tested. The properties of these mutants indicate that the DNA unwinding and ss DNA exonuclease activities of the RecBCD enzyme are not sufficient for recombination. Furthermore, they suggest that the Chi-dependent DNA cleavage activity or another, as yet unidentified activity or both are required for recombination. The roles of the RecBCD enzymatic activities in recombination and exclusion of foreign DNA are discussed in light of the properties of these and other recBCD mutations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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