A novel expression vector using the 236-bp promoter-operator fragment of the recA gene (recApo) of Escherichia coli has been constructed. This DNA fragment contains complete signals for the initiation of RNA synthesis, as well as for regulation by the lexA product, but lacks the coding sequence for the RecA protein. The strength of the recA promoter was examined by assaying ß-galactosidase activity expressed from a cro-lacZ fused gene placed downstream of the promoter. Under noninducing conditions, the promoter was regulated by the LexA protein, and the fused gene was expressed only weakly. Upon induction by nalidixic acid in a recA+ strain, high expression was observed for an extended period. After 5 h under inducing conditions, as much as 11 % of the total cellular protein was cro-lacZ product. The expression level was higher than that from promoters of lac, trp, and λ early genes.
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