Evidence that an Additional Mutation Is Required To Tolerate Insertional Inactivation of the Streptomyces lividans recA Gene


American Society for Microbiology


In contrast to recA of other bacteria, the recA gene of Streptomyces lividans has been described as indispensable for viability (G. Muth, D. Frese, A. Kleber, and W. Wohlleben, Mol. Gen. Genet. 255:420–428, 1997.). Therefore, a closer analysis of this gene was performed to detect possible unique features distinguishing the Streptomyces RecA protein from the well-characterized Escherichia coli RecA protein. The S. lividans recA gene restored UV resistance and recombination activity of an E. coli recA mutant. Also, transcriptional regulation was similar to that of E. coli recA. Gel retardation experiments showed that S. lividans recA is also under control of the Streptomyces SOS repressor LexA. The S. lividans recA gene could be replaced only by simultaneously expressing a plasmid encoded recA copy. Surprisingly, the recA expression plasmid could subsequently be eliminated using an incompatible plasmid without the loss of viability. Besides being UV sensitive and recombination deficient, all the mutants were blocked in sporulation. Genetic complementation restored UV resistance and recombination activity but did not affect the sporulation defect. This indicated that all the recA mutants had suffered from an additional mutation, which might allow toleration of a recA deficiency.

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