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Suppressors of recF (srfA) were found by selection for resistance to mitomycin C and UV irradiation in a recB21 recC22 sbcB15 recF143 strain. srfA mutations map in recA and are dominant to srfA+. They suppress both the DNA repair and the recombination deficiencies due to recF mutations. Therefore, RecA protein which is altered by the srfA mutation can allow genetic recombination to proceed in the absence of recB, recC, and recF functions. recF is also required for induction of the SOS response after UV damage. We propose that recF+ normally functions to allow the expression of two recA activities, one that is required for the RecF pathway of recombination and another that is required for SOS induction. The two RecA activities are different and are separable by mutation since srfA mutations permit recombination to proceed but have not caused a dramatic increase in SOS induction in recF mutants. According to this hypothesis, one role for recF in DNA repair and recombination is to modulate RecA activities to allow RecA to participate in these recF-dependent processes.