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Gene Review

recB  -  exonuclease V (RecBCD complex), beta subunit

Escherichia coli str. K-12 substr. MG1655

Synonyms: ECK2816, JW2788, ior, rorA
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Disease relevance of recB

  • No sequences which reasonably fit the consensus for an E. coli promoter could be identified upstream of the proposed recB translational start [1].
  • Suppressors of recB mutations in Salmonella typhimurium [2].
  • The old (overcoming lysogenization defect) gene product of bacteriophage P2 kills Escherichia coli recB and recC mutants and interferes with phage lambda growth [Sironi et al., Virology 46 (1971) 387-396; Lindahl et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 66 (1970) 587-594] [3].
  • By making use of the temperature-sensitive mutant recB270, we showed that the RecBCD enzyme is needed for repair between 1 and 4 h after UV exposure. recB-dependent prophage inactivation (Petranović et al. (1984), Mol. Gen. Genet., 196, 167-169) takes place in all dying cells during the same period of time [4].

High impact information on recB

  • Synergistic genetic interactions with recA and recB suggested that chromosome breaks and regressed forks accumulate in obgE mutants [5].
  • Instead, norfloxacin causes DNA damage, as evidenced by the induction of the SOS pathway for DNA repair; the increase in susceptibility to the drug by mutations in genes for DNA repair pathways including recA, recB, and uvrD; and the efficient detergent-induced linearization of plasmid DNA in drug-treated cells [6].
  • The recB and recD subunits of the recBCD enzyme (exonuclease V) from Escherichia coli were covalently photolabeled with the ATP photoaffinity analogue [alpha-32P]8-azido-ATP [7].
  • Finally, we show that the mutA phenotype is abolished in cells deficient for recB, suggesting that cellular recombination functions may be required for the expression of the mutator phenotype [8].
  • Mutations within this region of Gifsy-1 yield the classical 'Sbc' phenotype: they suppress the recombination defect of recB mutants, apparently by activating a normally silent recE-like gene [9].

Biological context of recB

  • At its 3' end, the ptr gene overlaps the start of the recB coding sequence by 8 bases, suggesting that these genes may form part of an operon [10].
  • Complete nucleotide sequence of the Escherichia coli recB gene [1].
  • The presence of linear plasmid multimers in recB and recC mutants sheds new light on plasmid recombination frequencies in various mutant strains [11].
  • A recA mutation, but not a recB mutation, suppressed these phenotypes of the ruv mutants [12].
  • The gene was detected after transposon mutagenesis of a recB sbcB strain and screening for insertion mutants that had a reduced efficiency of recombination in Hfr crosses [13].

Associations of recB with chemical compounds


Other interactions of recB

  • Mutations in the genes recB or recC, encoding two subunits of the enzyme, reduce the frequency of many types of recombinational events [15].
  • In a recD recJ xonA triple mutant, the degradation of linear duplex DNA was roughly at the level of a recB mutant [16].
  • Mutations in recB, required for double-strand break repair, and in ruvC, the Holliday junction resolvase gene, were synthetically lethal with dnaB107, causing enhanced temperature sensitivity [17].
  • This recA-dependent repair of excision gaps appears to be analogous to the recF- and recB-dependent pathways of postreplication repair, i.e. the RecF pathway repairs DNA gaps, and the RecBCD pathway repairs the DSB that arise at unrepaired gaps [18].


  1. Complete nucleotide sequence of the Escherichia coli recB gene. Finch, P.W., Storey, A., Chapman, K.E., Brown, K., Hickson, I.D., Emmerson, P.T. Nucleic Acids Res. (1986) [Pubmed]
  2. Suppressors of recB mutations in Salmonella typhimurium. Benson, N.R., Roth, J. Genetics (1994) [Pubmed]
  3. The P2 phage old gene: sequence, transcription and translational control. Haggård-Ljungquist, E., Barreiro, V., Calendar, R., Kurnit, D.M., Cheng, H. Gene (1989) [Pubmed]
  4. Kinetics of recB-dependent repair: relationship to post-UV inactivation of the prophage. Trgovcević, Z., Petranović, D., Salaj-Smic, E., Petranović, M. Mutat. Res. (1987) [Pubmed]
  5. A bacterial G protein-mediated response to replication arrest. Foti, J.J., Schienda, J., Sutera, V.A., Lovett, S.T. Mol. Cell (2005) [Pubmed]
  6. The mechanism of inhibition of topoisomerase IV by quinolone antibacterials. Khodursky, A.B., Cozzarelli, N.R. J. Biol. Chem. (1998) [Pubmed]
  7. Photoaffinity labeling of the recBCD enzyme of Escherichia coli with 8-azidoadenosine 5'-triphosphate. Julin, D.A., Lehman, I.R. J. Biol. Chem. (1987) [Pubmed]
  8. The mutA mistranslator tRNA-induced mutator phenotype requires recA and recB genes, but not the derepression of lexA-regulated functions. Ren, L., Al Mamun, A.A., Humayun, M.Z. Mol. Microbiol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  9. Unsuspected prophage-like elements in Salmonella typhimurium. Figueroa-Bossi, N., Coissac, E., Netter, P., Bossi, L. Mol. Microbiol. (1997) [Pubmed]
  10. Complete nucleotide sequence of the Escherichia coli ptr gene encoding protease III. Finch, P.W., Wilson, R.E., Brown, K., Hickson, I.D., Emmerson, P.T. Nucleic Acids Res. (1986) [Pubmed]
  11. Synthesis of linear plasmid multimers in Escherichia coli K-12. Cohen, A., Clark, A.J. J. Bacteriol. (1986) [Pubmed]
  12. Abortive recombination in Escherichia coli ruv mutants blocks chromosome partitioning. Ishioka, K., Fukuoh, A., Iwasaki, H., Nakata, A., Shinagawa, H. Genes Cells (1998) [Pubmed]
  13. Identification of the recR locus of Escherichia coli K-12 and analysis of its role in recombination and DNA repair. Mahdi, A.A., Lloyd, R.G. Mol. Gen. Genet. (1989) [Pubmed]
  14. RecBC promoted repair of bleomycin damage in Escherichia coli. Knezević-Vukcević, J., Simić, D. Biochimie (1991) [Pubmed]
  15. The genetic dependence of recombination in recD mutants of Escherichia coli. Lovett, S.T., Luisi-DeLuca, C., Kolodner, R.D. Genetics (1988) [Pubmed]
  16. Evidence that recBC-dependent degradation of duplex DNA in Escherichia coli recD mutants involves DNA unwinding. Rinken, R., Thomas, B., Wackernagel, W. J. Bacteriol. (1992) [Pubmed]
  17. Tandem repeat recombination induced by replication fork defects in Escherichia coli requires a novel factor, RadC. Saveson, C.J., Lovett, S.T. Genetics (1999) [Pubmed]
  18. recA-dependent DNA repair in UV-irradiated Escherichia coli. Smith, K.C., Wang, T.V., Sharma, R.C. J. Photochem. Photobiol. B, Biol. (1987) [Pubmed]
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