By a direct assay approach, mutants of Haemophilus influenzae Rd that are deficient in adenosine 5'-triphosphate-dependent deoxyribonuclease activity (add-) were isolated and characterized. A large proportion (50 to 90%) of the cells in cultures of these mutants failed to produce visible colonies when plated. An extensive analysis of the recombination proficiency of these strains revealed that the transformation frequency (transformants per competent cell) in the mutants was similar to that found in the wild type, but that the transformation efficiency (transformants per microgram of irreversibly bound deoxyribonucleic acid [DNA]) was reduced approximately fourfold. Sensitivities of the mutants to gamma rays, ultraviolet radiation, and methyl methane sulfonate were only slightly greater than wild-type levels. The rate of degradation of host DNA after ultraviolet irradiation was significantly reduced in the mutants. It is suggested that the adenosine 5'-triphosphate-dependent deoxyribonuclease in H. influenzae plays a nonessential role in DNA recombination and repair
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