Repair by Genetic Recombination in Bacteria: Overview

  • Paul Howard-Flanders
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series


DNA molecules that have been damaged in both strands at the same level are not subject to repair by excision but instead can be repaired through recombination with homologous molecules. Examples of two-strand damage include postreplication gaps opposite pyrimidine dimers, two-strand breaks produced by X-rays, and chemically induced interstrand cross-links. In ultraviolet-irradiated bacteria, the newly synthesized DNA is of length equal to the interdimer spacing. With continued incubation, this low-molecular-weight DNA is joined into highmolecular-weight chains (postreplication repair), a process associated with sister exchanges in bacteria. Recombination is initiated by pyrimidine dimers opposite postreplication gaps and by interstrand cross-links that have been cut by excision enzymes. The free ends at the resulting gaps presumably initiate the exchanges. Postreplication repair in Escherichia coli occurs in recB and recC but is greatly slowed in recF mutants. RecB and recC are the structural genes for exonuclease V, which digests two-stranded DNA by releasing oligonucleotides first from one strand and then from the other. The postreplication sister exchanges in ultraviolet-irradiated bacteria result in the distribution of pyrimidine dimers between parental and daughter strands, indicating that long exchanges involving both strands of each duplex occur.

The Rl restriction endonuclease from E. coli has been used to cut the DNA of a bacterial drug-resistance transfer factor with one nuclease-sensitive site, and also DNA from the frog Xenopus enriched for ribosomal 18S and 28S genes. The fragments were annealed with the cut plasmid DNA and ligated, producing a new larger plasmid carrying the eukaryotic rDNA and able to infect and replicate in E. coli.


Ultraviolet Irradiation Double Exchange Pyrimidine Dimer Repair Synthesis Animal Cell Line 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Howard-Flanders
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Therapeutic RadiologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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