Accessory replicative helicases aid the primary replicative helicase in duplicating protein-bound DNA, especially transcribed DNA. Recombination enzymes also aid genome duplication by facilitating the repair of DNA lesions via strand exchange and also processing of blocked fork DNA to generate structures onto which the replisome can be reloaded. There is significant interplay between accessory helicases and recombination enzymes in both bacteria and lower eukaryotes but how these replication repair systems interact to ensure efficient genome duplication remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that the DNA content defects of Escherichia coli
cells lacking the strand exchange protein RecA are driven primarily by conflicts between replication and transcription, as is the case in cells lacking the accessory helicase Rep. However, in contrast to Rep, neither RecA nor RecBCD, the helicase/exonuclease that loads RecA onto dsDNA ends, is important for maintaining rapid chromosome duplication. Furthermore, RecA and RecBCD together can sustain viability in the absence of accessory replicative helicases but only when transcriptional barriers to replication are suppressed by an RNA polymerase mutation. Our data indicate that the minimisation of replisome pausing by accessory helicases has a more significant impact on successful completion of chromosome duplication than recombination-directed fork repair.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited