Cloning of the recA gene from a free-living leptospire and distribution of RecA-like protein among spirochetes

L V Stamm, E A Parrish, F C Gherardini
1991 Applied and Environmental Microbiology  
A recombinant plasmid carrying the recA gene of Leptospira bfifexa serovar patoc was isolated from a cosmid library of genomic DNA by complementation of an Escherichia coli recA mutation. The cloned serovar patoc recA gene efficiently restored resistance to UV radiation and methyl methanesulfonate. Recombination proficiency was also restored, as measured by the formation of Lac' recombinants from duplicated mutant lacZ genes. Additionally, the cloned recA gene increased the spontaneous and
more » ... pontaneous and mitomycin C-induced production of lambda phage in lysogens of an E. coli recA mutant. The product of the cloned recA gene was identified in maxicells as a polypeptide with an Mr of 43,000. Antibodies prepared against the E. coli RecA protein cross-reacted with the serovar patoc RecA protein, indicating structural conservation. Southern hybridization data showed that the serovar patoc recA gene has diverged from the recA gene of L. interrogans, Leptonema illini, and E. coli. With the exception of the RecA protein of L. interrogans serovar hardjo, the RecA protein of the Leptospira serovars and L. illini were synthesized at elevated levels following treatment of cells with nalidixic acid. The level of detectable RecA correlated with previous studies demonstrating that free-living cells of L. biflexa serovars and L. illini were considerably more resistant to DNA-damaging agents than were those of parasitic L. interrogans serovars. RecA protein was not detected in cells of virulent Treponema pallidum or Borrelia burgdorferi.
doi:10.1128/aem.57.1.183-189.1991 fatcat:f4avgxn3hjasfdmossocbyujcy