The bacterial RecA protein plays a central role in the repair of stalled replication forks, double-strand break repair, general recombination, induction of the SOS response, and SOS mutagenesis. The major activity of RecA in DNA metabolism is the promotion of DNA strand exchange reactions. RecA is the prototype for a ubiquitous family of proteins but exhibits a few activities that some of its eukaryotic, archaeal, and viral homologs appear to lack. In particular, the bacterial RecA protein possesses an apparent motor function that is not evident in the reactions promoted by the eukaryotic Rad51 protein. This motor may be needed only in a subset of the DNA metabolism contexts in which RecA protein functions. Models for the coupling of DNA strand exchange to ATP hydrolysis are examined.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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