The biochemical properties of the recA430 protein have been examined and compared to those of wild-type recA protein. We find that, while the recA430 protein possesses ssDNA-dependent rATP activity, this activity is inhibited by the Escherichia coli single-stranded DNA binding protein (SSB protein) under many conditions that enhance wild-type recA protein rATPase hydrolysis. Stimulation of rATPase activity by SSB protein is observed only at high concentrations of both rATP (>1 mm) and recA430 protein (>5 μm). In contrast, stimulation of ssDNA-dependent dATPase activity by SSB protein is less sensitive to protein and nucleotide concentration. Consistent with the nucleotide hydrolysis data, recA430 protein can carry out DNA strand exchange in the presence of either rATP or dATP. However, in the presence of rATP, both the rate and the extent of DNA strand exchange by recA430 protein are greatly reduced compared to wild-type recA protein and are sensitive to recA430 protein concentration. This reduction is presumably due to the inability of recA430 protein to compete with SSB protein for ssDNA binding sites under these conditions. The cleavage of lexA repressor protein by recA430 protein is also sensitive to the nucleotide cofactor present and is completely inhibited by SSB protein when rATP is the cofactor but not when dATP is used. Finally, the steady-state affinity and the rate of association of the recA430 protein-ssDNA complex are reduced, suggesting that the mutation affects the interaction of the ATP-bound form of recA protein with ssDNA. This alteration is the likely molecular defect responsible for inhibition of recA430 protein rATP-dependent function by SSB protein. The biochemical properties observed in the presence of dATP and SSB protein, i.e. the reduced levels of both DNA strand exchange activity and cleavage of lexA repressor protein, are consistent with the phenotypic behavior of recA430 mutations.
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