A RecA-deficient stain of Streptococcus mutans, isolated previously, was found to
be more susceptible than the prototroph organism to acid killing and also showed reduced
colony-forming ability on sucrose-containing medium. The deficient strain was able
to grow in chemostat culture at a low pH value of 5 and did not show reduced capacity
to produce acid in standard pH-drop experiments with excess glucose. Moreover, it
was able to undergo an adaptive response when grown at a low pH to become more resistant
to acid killing and also to killing by ultraviolet radiation or hydrogen peroxide.
In fact, after adaptation, it was nearly as resistant as the prototroph strain. These
findings were interpreted, in part, in terms of an acid-inducible DNA repair system
which functions independently of RecA.