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Open Access Research article

RecA Proteins from Deinococcus geothermalis and Deinococcus murrayi - Cloning, Purification and Biochemical Characterisation

Marta Wanarska, Beata Krawczyk, Piotr Hildebrandt and Józef Kur*

Author Affiliations

Department of Microbiology, Chemical Faculty, Gdańsk University of Technology, Narutowicza 11/12, 80-233 Gdańsk, Poland

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BMC Molecular Biology 2011, 12:17  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-12-17

Published: 22 April 2011



Escherichia coli RecA plays a crucial role in recombinational processes, the induction of SOS responses and mutagenic lesion bypasses. It has also been demonstrated that RecA protein is indispensable when it comes to the reassembly of shattered chromosomes in γ-irradiated Deinococcus radiodurans, one of the most radiation-resistant organisms known. Moreover, some functional differences between E. coli and D. radiodurans RecA proteins have also been shown.


In this study, recA genes from Deinococcus geothermalis and Deinococcus murrayi, bacteria that are slightly thermophilic and extremely γ-radiation resistant, were isolated, cloned and expressed in E. coli. After production and purification, the biochemical properties of DgeRecA and DmuRecA proteins were determined. Both proteins continued to exist in the solutions as heterogenous populations of oligomeric forms. The DNA binding by DgeRecA and DmuRecA proteins is stimulated by Mg2+ ions. Furthermore, both proteins bind more readily to ssDNA when ssDNA and dsDNA are in the same reaction mixture. Both proteins are slightly thermostable and were completely inactivated in 10 s at 80°C. Both proteins hydrolyze ATP and dATP in the presence of ssDNA or complementary ssDNA and dsDNA, but not in the absence of DNA or in the presence of dsDNA only, and dATP was hydrolyzed more rapidly than ATP. They were also able to promote DNA strand exchange reactions by a pathway common for other RecA proteins. However, we did not obtain DNA strand exchange products when reactions were performed on an inverse pathway, characteristic for RecA of D. radiodurans.


The characterization of DgeRecA and DmuRecA proteins made in this study indicates that the unique properties of D. radiodurans RecA are probably not common among RecA proteins from Deinococcus sp.