The manner in which integration host factor (IHF) regulates lambda site-specific recombination has been analyzed by examining the behavior of both wild-type and mutant DNAs in integrative and excisive recombination as well as in protein binding. While integrative recombination of an attP with two base changes in the H1 site required 8-fold more IHF than did wild type, binding to this site was lowered at least 500-fold, suggestive of cooperative interactions. A mutant attP with nine base changes did not integrate at all in vitro, with the defect being less severe in vivo. IHF inhibition of excisive recombination was relieved by both mutations in vitro and in vivo. These results imply that occupancy of the H1 site is critical for determining the direction of recombination. It is proposed that IHF inhibition of excision provides a monitor of the strength of the induction stimulus and the nutritional state of the cell; this would allow the prophage to exise selectivity in conditions which favor successful completion of the lytic cycle.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology