The evolution of RecD outside of the RecBCD complex

Michael Montague, Christian Barnes, Hamilton O. Smith, Ray Yuan Chuang, Sanjay Vashee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The common understanding of the function of RecD, as derived predominantly from studies in Escherichia coli, is that RecD is one of three enzymes in the RecBCD double-stranded break repair DNA recombination complex. However, comparative genomics has revealed that many organisms possess a recD gene even though the other members of the complex, recB and recC, are not present. Further, bioinformatic analyses have shown that there is substantial sequence dissimilarity between recD genes associated with recB and recC (recD1), and those that are not associated with recBC (recD2). Deinococcus radiodurans, known for its extraordinary DNA repair capability, is one such organism that does not possess either recB or recC, and yet does possess a recD gene. The recD of D. radiodurans was deleted and this mutant was shown to have a capacity to repair double-stranded DNA breaks equivalent to wild-type. The phylogenetic history of recD was studied using a dataset of 120 recD genes from 91 fully sequenced species. The analysis focused upon the role of gene duplication and functional genomic context in the evolution of recD2, which appears to have undergone numerous independent events resulting in duplicate recD2 genes. The role of RecD as part of the RecBCD complex appears to have a divergence from an earlier ancestral RecD function still preserved in many species including D. radiodurans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-371
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacillus halodurans
  • DNA damage
  • Deinococcus radiodurans
  • Gene duplication
  • RecB
  • RecC
  • RecD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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