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1.  Involvement of Escherichia coli DNA Replication Proteins in Phage Lambda Red-Mediated Homologous Recombination 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67440.
The Red recombination system of bacteriophage lambda is widely used for genetic engineering because of its ability to promote recombination between bacterial chromosomes or plasmids and linear DNA species introduced by electroporation. The process is known to be intimately tied to replication, but the cellular functions which participate with Red in this process are largely unknown. Here two such functions are identified: the GrpE-DnaK-DnaJ chaperone system, and DNA polymerase I. Mutations in either function are found to decrease the efficiency of Red recombination. grpE and dnaJ mutations which greatly decrease Red recombination with electroporated DNA species have only small effects on Red-mediated transduction. This recombination event specificity suggests that the involvement of GrpE-DnaJ-DnaK is not simply an effect on Red structure or stability.
PMCID: PMC3686724  PMID: 23840702
2.  High efficiency generalized transduction in Escherichia coli O157:H7 
F1000Research  2013;2:7.
Genetic manipulation in enterohemorrhagic E. coli O157:H7 is currently restricted to recombineering, a method that utilizes the recombination system of bacteriophage lambda, to introduce gene replacements and base changes inter alia into the genome. Bacteriophage 933W is a prophage in E. coli O157:H7 strain EDL933, which encodes the genes ( stx2AB) for the production of Shiga toxin which is the basis for the potentially fatal Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome in infected humans. We replaced the stx2AB genes with a kanamycin cassette using recombineering. After induction of the prophage by ultra-violet light, we found that bacteriophage lysates were capable of transducing to wildtype, point mutations in the lactose, arabinose and maltose genes. The lysates could also transduce tetracycline resistant cassettes. Bacteriophage 933W is also efficient at transducing markers in E. coli K-12. Co-transduction experiments indicated that the maximal amount of transferred DNA was likely the size of the bacteriophage genome, 61 kB. All tested transductants, in both E. coli K-12 and O157:H7, were kanamycin-sensitive indicating that the transducing particles contained host DNA.
PMCID: PMC3752737  PMID: 24358856
3.  Recombination Phenotypes of Escherichia coli greA Mutants 
BMC Molecular Biology  2011;12:12.
The elongation factor GreA binds to RNA polymerase and modulates transcriptional pausing. Some recent research suggests that the primary role of GreA may not be to regulate gene expression, but rather, to promote the progression of replication forks which collide with RNA polymerase, and which might otherwise collapse. Replication fork collapse is known to generate dsDNA breaks, which can be recombinogenic. It follows that GreA malfunction could have consequences affecting homologous recombination.
Escherichia coli mutants bearing substitutions of the active site acidic residues of the transcription elongation factor GreA, D41N and E44K, were isolated as suppressors of growth inhibition by a toxic variant of the bacteriophage lambda Red-beta recombination protein. These mutants, as well as a D41A greA mutant and a greA deletion, were tested for proficiency in recombination events. The mutations were found to increase the efficiency of RecA-RecBCD-mediated and RecA-Red-mediated recombination, which are replication-independent, and to decrease the efficiency of replication-dependent Red-mediated recombination.
These observations provide new evidence for a role of GreA in resolving conflicts between replication and transcription.
PMCID: PMC3078854  PMID: 21453489
4.  Expansion of a chromosomal repeat in Escherichia coli: roles of replication, repair, and recombination functions 
BMC Molecular Biology  2009;10:14.
Previous studies of gene amplification in Escherichia coli have suggested that it occurs in two steps: duplication and expansion. Expansion is thought to result from homologous recombination between the repeated segments created by duplication. To explore the mechanism of expansion, a 7 kbp duplication in the chromosome containing a leaky mutant version of the lac operon was constructed, and its expansion into an amplified array was studied.
Under selection for lac function, colonies bearing multiple copies of the mutant lac operon appeared at a constant rate of approximately 4 to 5 per million cells plated per day, on days two through seven after plating. Expansion was not seen in a recA strain; null mutations in recBCD and ruvC reduced the rate 100- and 10-fold, respectively; a ruvC recG double mutant reduced the rate 1000-fold. Expansion occurred at an increased rate in cells lacking dam, polA, rnhA, or uvrD functions. Null mutations of various other cellular recombination, repair, and stress response genes had little effect upon expansion. The red recombination genes of phage lambda could substitute for recBCD in mediating expansion. In the red-substituted cells, expansion was only partially dependent upon recA function.
These observations are consistent with the idea that the expansion step of gene amplification is closely related, mechanistically, to interchromosomal homologous recombination events. They additionally provide support for recently described models of RecA-independent Red-mediated recombination at replication forks.
PMCID: PMC2656507  PMID: 19236706
5.  Amplification of lac Cannot Account for Adaptive Mutation to Lac+ in Escherichia coli▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(6):2291-2299.
When the Lac− strain of Escherichia coli, FC40, is incubated with lactose as its sole carbon and energy source, Lac+ revertants arise at a constant rate, a phenomenon known as adaptive mutation. Two alternative models for adaptive mutation have been proposed: (i) recombination-dependent mutation, which specifies that recombination occurring in nongrowing cells stimulates error-prone DNA synthesis, and (ii) amplification-dependent mutation, which specifies that amplification of the lac region and growth of the amplifying cells creates enough DNA replication to produce mutations at the normal rate. Here, we examined several of the predictions of the amplification-dependent mutation model and found that they are not fulfilled. First, inhibition of adaptive mutation by a gene that is toxic when overexpressed does not depend on the proximity of the gene to lac. Second, mutation at a second locus during selection for Lac+ revertants is also independent of the proximity of the locus to lac. Third, mutation at a second locus on the episome occurs even when the lac allele under selection is on the chromosome. Our results support the hypothesis that most Lac+ mutants that appear during lactose selection are true revertants that arise in a single step from Lac− cells, not from a population of growing or amplifying precursor cells.
PMCID: PMC1899370  PMID: 17209030
6.  Chromosomal duplications and cointegrates generated by the bacteriophage lamdba Red system in Escherichia coli K-12 
An Escherichia coli strain in which RecBCD has been genetically replaced by the bacteriophage λ Red system engages in efficient recombination between its chromosome and linear double-stranded DNA species sharing sequences with the chromosome. Previous studies of this experimental system have focused on a gene replacement-type event, in which a 3.5 kbp dsDNA consisting of the cat gene and flanking lac operon sequences recombines with the E. coli chromosome to generate a chloramphenicol-resistant Lac- recombinant. The dsDNA was delivered into the cell as part of the chromosome of a non-replicating λ vector, from which it was released by the action of a restriction endonuclease in the infected cell. This study characterizes the genetic requirements and outcomes of a variety of additional Red-promoted homologous recombination events producing Lac+ recombinants.
A number of observations concerning recombination events between the chromosome and linear DNAs were made: (1) Formation of Lac+ and Lac- recombinants depended upon the same recombination functions. (2) High multiplicity and high chromosome copy number favored Lac+ recombinant formation. (3) The Lac+ recombinants were unstable, segregating Lac- progeny. (4) A tetracycline-resistance marker in a site of the phage chromosome distant from cat was not frequently co-inherited with cat. (5) Recombination between phage sequences in the linear DNA and cryptic prophages in the chromosome was responsible for most of the observed Lac+ recombinants. In addition, observations were made concerning recombination events between the chromosome and circular DNAs: (6) Formation of recombinants depended upon both RecA and, to a lesser extent, Red. (7) The linked tetracycline-resistance marker was frequently co-inherited in this case.
The Lac+ recombinants arise from events in which homologous recombination between the incoming linear DNA and both lac and cryptic prophage sequences in the chromosome generates a partial duplication of the bacterial chromosome. When the incoming DNA species is circular rather than linear, cointegrates are the most frequent type of recombinant.
PMCID: PMC545071  PMID: 15596011
7.  Modulation of DNA Repair and Recombination by the Bacteriophage λ Orf Function in Escherichia coli K-12 
Journal of Bacteriology  2004;186(9):2699-2707.
The orf gene of bacteriophage λ, fused to a promoter, was placed in the galK locus of Escherichia coli K-12. Orf was found to suppress the recombination deficiency and sensitivity to UV radiation of mutants, in a Δ(recC ptr recB recD)::Ptac gam bet exo pae cI ΔrecG background, lacking recF, recO, recR, ruvAB, and ruvC functions. It also suppressed defects of these mutants in establishing replication of a pSC101-related plasmid. Compared to orf, the recA803 allele had only small effects on recF, recO, and recR mutant phenotypes and no effect on a ruvAB mutant. In a fully wild-type background with respect to known recombination and repair functions, orf partially suppressed the UV sensitivity of ruvAB and ruvC mutants.
PMCID: PMC387792  PMID: 15090511
8.  Corrected Sequence of the Bacteriophage P22 Genome 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(4):1475-1477.
We report the first accurate genome sequence for bacteriophage P22, correcting a 0.14% error rate in previously determined sequences. DNA sequencing technology is now good enough that genomes of important model systems like P22 can be sequenced with essentially 100% accuracy with minimal investment of time and resources.
PMCID: PMC142878  PMID: 12562822
9.  Recombination-Promoting Activity of the Bacteriophage λ Rap Protein in Escherichia coli K-12 
Journal of Bacteriology  2002;184(16):4626-4629.
The rap gene of bacteriophage λ was placed in the chromosome of an Escherichia coli K-12 strain in which the recBCD gene cluster had previously been replaced by the λ red genes and in which the recG gene had been deleted. Recombination between linear double-stranded DNA molecules and the chromosome was tested in variants of the recGΔ red+ rap+ strain bearing mutations in genes known to affect recombination in other cellular pathways. The linear DNA was a 4-kb fragment containing the cat gene, with flanking lac sequences, released from an infecting phage chromosome by restriction enzyme cleavage in the cell. Replacement of wild-type lacZ with lacZ::cat was monitored by measuring the production of Lac-deficient chloramphenicol-resistant bacterial progeny. The results of these experiments indicated that the λ rap gene could functionally substitute for the E. coli ruvC gene in Red-mediated recombination.
PMCID: PMC135263  PMID: 12142434
10.  Phage λ Red-Mediated Adaptive Mutation 
Journal of Bacteriology  2002;184(13):3753-3755.
Replacement of the recBCD genes of Escherichia coli with the red recombination genes of bacteriophage lambda results in a strain in which adaptive mutation occurs at an elevated frequency. Like RecBCD-dependent adaptive mutation, Red-mediated adaptive mutation is dependent upon recA and ruvABC functions.
PMCID: PMC135127  PMID: 12057974
11.  Genetic Requirements of Phage λ Red-Mediated Gene Replacement in Escherichia coli K-12 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(8):2336-2340.
Recombination between short linear double-stranded DNA molecules and Escherichia coli chromosomes bearing the red genes of bacteriophage λ in place of recBCD was tested in strains bearing mutations in genes known to affect recombination in other cellular pathways. The linear DNA was a 4-kb fragment containing the cat gene, with flanking lac sequences, released from an infecting phage chromosome by restriction enzyme cleavage in the cell; formation of Lac− chloramphenicol-resistant bacterial progeny was measured. Recombinant formation was found to be reduced in ruvAB and recQ strains. In this genetic background, mutations in recF, recO, and recR had large effects on both cell viability and on recombination. In these cases, deletion of the sulA gene improved viability and strain stability, without improving recombination ability. Expression of a gene(s) from the nin region of phage λ partially complemented both the viability and recombination defects of the recF, recO, and recR mutants and the recombination defect of ruvC but not of ruvAB or recQ mutants.
PMCID: PMC111289  PMID: 10735883
12.  Roles of RuvC and RecG in Phage λ Red-Mediated Recombination 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(17):5402-5408.
The recombination properties of Escherichia coli strains expressing the red genes of bacteriophage λ and lacking recBCD function either by mutation or by expression of λ gam were examined. The substrates for recombination were nonreplicating λ chromosomes, introduced by infection; Red-mediated recombination was initiated by a double-strand break created by the action of a restriction endonuclease in the infected cell. In one type of experiment, two phages marked with restriction site polymorphisms were crossed. Efficient formation of recombinant DNA molecules was observed in ruvC+ recG+, ruvC recG+, ruvC+ recG, and ruvC recG hosts. In a second type of experiment, a 1-kb nonhomology was inserted between the double-strand break and the donor chromosome’s restriction site marker. In this case, recombinant formation was found to be partially dependent upon ruvC function, especially in a recG mutant background. In a third type of experiment, the recombining partners were the host cell chromosome and a 4-kb linear DNA fragment containing the cat gene, with flanking lac sequences, released from the infecting phage chromosome by restriction enzyme cleavage in the cell; the formation of chloramphenicol-resistant bacterial progeny was measured. Dependence on RuvC varied considerably among the three types of cross. However, in all cases, the frequency of Red-mediated recombination was higher in recG than in recG+. These observations favor models in which RecG tends to push invading 3′-ended strands back out of recombination intermediates.
PMCID: PMC94048  PMID: 10464213
13.  Structure and Functions of the Bacteriophage P22 Tail Protein 
Journal of Virology  1980;34(1):234-243.
The product of gene 9 (gp9) of Salmonella typhimurium bacteriophage P22 is a multifunctional structural protein. This protein is both a specific glycosidase which imparts the adsorption characteristics of the phage for its host and a protein which participates in a specific assembly reaction during phage morphogenesis. We have begun a detailed biochemical and genetic analysis of this gene product. A relatively straightforward purification of this protein has been devised, and various physical parameters of the protein have been determined. The protein has an s20,w of 9.3S, a D20,w of 4.3 × 10−7 cm2/s, and a molecular weight, as determined by sedimentation equilibrium, of 173,000. The purified protein appears as a prolate ellipsoid upon electron microscopic examination, with an axial ratio of 4:1, which is similar to the observed shape when it is attached to the phage particle. The molecular weight is consistent with the tail protein being a dimer of gp9 and each phage containing six of these dimers. An altered form of the tail protein has been purified from supF cells infected with a phage strain carrying an amber mutation in gene 9. Phage “tailed” with this altered form of gp9 adsorb to susceptible cells but form infectious centers with a severely reduced efficiency (ca. 1%). Biochemical analysis of the purified wild-type and genetically altered tail proteins suggests that loss of infectivity correlates with a loss in the glycosidase activity of the protein (2.5% residual activity). From these results we propose that the glycosidic activity of the P22 tail protein is not essential for phage assembly or adsorption of the phage to its host but is required for subsequent steps in the process of infection.
PMCID: PMC288689  PMID: 6990016

Results 1-13 (13)