Yeast Rad51 promotes homologous pairing and strand exchange in vitro, but this activity is inefficient in the absence of the accessory proteins, RPA, Rad52, Rad54 and the Rad55–Rad57 heterodimer. A class of rad51 alleles was isolated that suppresses the requirement for RAD55 and RAD57 in DNA repair, but not the other accessory factors. Five of the six mutations isolated map to the region of Rad51 that by modeling with RecA corresponds to one of the DNA-binding sites. The other mutation is in the N-terminus of Rad51 in a domain implicated in protein–protein interactions and DNA binding. The Rad51-I345T mutant protein shows increased binding to single- and double-stranded DNA, and is proficient in displacement of replication protein A (RPA) from single-stranded DNA, suggesting that the normal function of Rad55–Rad57 is promotion and stabilization of Rad51–ssDNA complexes.