We have characterized the double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) binding properties of RecA protein, using an assay based on changes in the fluorescence of 4 ,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI)-dsDNA complexes. Here we use fluorescence, nitrocellulose filter-binding, and DNase I-sensitivity assays to demonstrate the binding of two duplex DNA molecules by the RecA protein filament. We previously established that the binding stoichiometry for the RecA protein-dsDNA complex is three base-pairs per RecA protein monomer, in the presence of ATP. In the presence of ATPgammaS, however, the binding stoichiometry depends on the MgCl2 concentration. The stoichiometry is 3 bp per monomer at low MgCl2 concentrations, but changes to 6 bp per monomer at higher MgCl2 concentrations, with the transition occurring at approximately 5 mM MgCl2. Above this MgCl2 concentration, the dsDNA within the RecA nucleoprotein complex becomes uncharacteristically sensitive to DNase I digestion. For these reasons we suggest that, at the elevated MgCl2 conditions, the RecA-dsDNA nucleoprotein filament can bind a second equivalent of dsDNA. These results demonstrate that RecA protein has the capacity to bind two dsDNA molecules, and they suggest that RecA or RecA-like proteins may effect homologous recognition between intact DNA duplexes.