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DNA Binding, Coprotease, and Strand Exchange Activities of Mycobacterial RecA Proteins: Implications for Functional Diversity among RecA Nucleoprotein Filaments

American Chemical Society
Publication Date
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology


One of the fundamental questions concerning homologous recombination is how RecA or its homologues recognize several DNA sequences with high affinity and catalyze all the diverse biological activities. In this study, we show that the extent of single-stranded DNA binding and strand exchange (SE) promoted by mycobacterial RecA proteins with DNA substrates having various degrees of GC content was comparable with that observed for Escherichia coli RecA. However, the rate and extent of SE promoted by these recombinases showed a strong negative correlation with increasing amounts of sequence divergence embedded at random across the length of the donor strand. Conversely, a positive correlation was seen between SE efficiency and the degree of sequence divergence in the recipient duplex DNA. The extent of heteroduplex formation was not significantly affected when both the pairing partners contained various degrees of sequence divergence, although there was a moderate decrease in the case of mycobacterial RecA proteins with substrates containing larger amounts of sequence divergence. Whereas a high GC content had no discernible effect on E. coli RecA coprotease activity, a negative correlation was apparent between mycobacterial RecA proteins and GC content. We further show clear differences in the extent of SE promoted by E. coli and mycobacterial RecA proteins in the presence of a wide range of ATP:ADP ratios. Taken together, our findings disclose the existence of functional diversity among E. coli and mycobacterial RecA nucleoprotein filaments, and the milieu of sequence divergence (i.e., in the donor or recipient) exerts differential effects on heteroduplex formation, which has implications for the emergence of new genetic variants.

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