The recombination properties of Escherichia coli strains expressing the red genes of bacteriophage λ and lacking recBCD function either by mutation or by expression of λ gam were examined. The substrates for recombination were nonreplicating λ chromosomes, introduced by infection; Red-mediated recombination was initiated by a double-strand break created by the action of a restriction endonuclease in the infected cell. In one type of experiment, two phages marked with restriction site polymorphisms were crossed. Efficient formation of recombinant DNA molecules was observed in ruvC+ recG+, ruvC recG+, ruvC+ recG, and ruvC recG hosts. In a second type of experiment, a 1-kb nonhomology was inserted between the double-strand break and the donor chromosome’s restriction site marker. In this case, recombinant formation was found to be partially dependent upon ruvC function, especially in a recG mutant background. In a third type of experiment, the recombining partners were the host cell chromosome and a 4-kb linear DNA fragment containing the cat gene, with flanking lac sequences, released from the infecting phage chromosome by restriction enzyme cleavage in the cell; the formation of chloramphenicol-resistant bacterial progeny was measured. Dependence on RuvC varied considerably among the three types of cross. However, in all cases, the frequency of Red-mediated recombination was higher in recG than in recG+. These observations favor models in which RecG tends to push invading 3′-ended strands back out of recombination intermediates
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