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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Evidence that recBC-dependent degradation of duplex DNA in Escherichia coli recD mutants involves DNA unwinding.

Infection of Escherichia coli with phage T4 gene 2am was used to transport 3H-labeled linear duplex DNA into cells to follow its degradation in relation to the cellular genotype. In wild-type cells, 49% of the DNA was made acid soluble within 60 min; in recB or recC cells, only about 5% of the DNA was made acid soluble. Remarkably, in recD cells about 25% of the DNA was rendered acid soluble. The DNA degradation in recD cells depended on intact recB and recC genes. The degradation in recD cells was largely decreased by mutations in recJ (which eliminates the 5' single-strand-specific exonuclease coded by this gene) or xonA (which abolishes the 3' single-strand-specific exonuclease I). In a recD recJ xonA triple mutant, the degradation of linear duplex DNA was roughly at the level of a recB mutant. Results similar to those with the set of recD strains were also obtained with a recC++ mutant (in which the RecD protein is intact but does not function) and its recJ, xonA, and recJ xonA derivatives. The observations provide evidence for a recBC-dependent DNA-unwinding activity that renders unwound DNA susceptible to exonucleolytic degradation. It is proposed that the DNA-unwinding activity causes the efficient recombination, DNA repair, and SOS induction (after application of nalidixic acid) in recD mutants. The RecBC helicase indirectly detected here may have a central function in Chi-dependent recombination and in the recombinational repair of double-strand breaks by the RecBCD pathway.[1]


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