Homologous recombination pathways probably evolved primarily to accomplish chromosomal repair and the formation and resolution of duplications by sister-chromosome exchanges. Various DNA lesions initiate these events. Classical recombination assays, involving bacterial sex, focus attention on double-strand ends of DNA. Sexual exchanges, initiated at these ends, depend on the RecBCD pathway. In the absence of RecBCD function, mutation of the sbcB and sbcC genes activates the apparently cryptic RecF pathway. To provide a more general view of recombination, we describe an assay in which endogenous DNA damage initiates recombination between chromosomal direct repeats. The repeats flank markers conferring lactose utilization (Lac+) and ampicillin resistance (Ap (R)); recombination generates Lac Ap(S) segregants. In this assay, the RecF pathway is not cryptic; it plays a major role without sbcBC mutations. Others have proposed that single-strand gaps are the natural substrate for RecF-dependent recombination. Supporting this view, recombination stimulated by a double- strand break (DSB) in a chromosomal repeat depended on RecB function, not RecF function. Without RecBCD function, sbcBC mutations modified the RecF pathway and allowed it to catalyze DSB-stimulated recombination. Sexual recombination assays overestimate the importance of RecBCD and DSBs, and underestimate the importance of the RecF pathway.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||17|
|State||Published - 1997|
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