Abstract A mutation in the recF gene of Escherichia coli results in a radiation-sensitive strain. The RecF pathway and the RecBC pathway account for nearly all of the conjugative recombination occuring in E. coli. recBC cells are radiation-sensitive and carry only out a small amount of recombination but these deficiencies are suppressed by an sbcB as recombination is shunted to the RecF pathway. A recBC sbcB recF strain is very radiation-sensitive and is devoid of recombination ability. These deficiencies are suppressed by the srfA mutation; srfA is a recA allele. UV-induced respiration shutoff is a recA +, lexA + and recBC + dependent. We report in this paper that respiration does not shutoff in a recF strain at 37 and 30°C. an srfA mutation suppresses this lack of respiration shutoff effect in a recF srfA mutant at 30°C but not at 37°C; no suppression by this mutation occurs at either temperature in a recF recBC sbcB strain. An srfA strain also does not shut off its respiration at 37°C and shows a temperature conditional UV-induced respiration shutoff response at 30°C. The srfA mutation is thought to cause an altered RecA protein to be produced and we suggest that at 37° This altered protein is temperature sensitive. We conclude from the results in this paper that the recF gene product is required for UV-induced respiration shutoff and that the RecA protein plays a special role in the induction process.