The determinants for two bacteriophage resistance mechanisms, AbiE and AbiF, are separated by approximately 3,300 nucleotides on the lactococcal plasmid pNP40 (P. Garvey, G.F. Fitzgerald, and C. Hill, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61:4321-4328, 1995). DNA sequence analysis of the intervening region led to the identification of two open reading frames (ORFs) which are transcribed in the opposite direction to the Abi determinants. One of these ORFs encodes a recA homolog (designated recALP). This is the first report of a recA-like determinant located to a plasmid. The second ORF (orfU) shares homology with the umuC gene of the SOS response. Analysis of a number of lactococcal strains confirmed the presence of recALP-like sequences in at least two other lactococcal strains. The proximity of the recA and umuC homologs suggested a possible role in the phase resistance encoded by the Abi determinants. However, no evidence was obtained to demonstrate a function for either ORF in the expression of either AbiE or AbiF. Nor could the recALP gene restore resistance to mitomycin in a recA-deficient lactococcal strain, VEL1122. Interestingly, it was shown that the chromosomally encoded recA is necessary for complete expression of the AbiF phenotype, confirming a role for RecA in this abortive infection system.