A previous genetic screen was designed to separate Hin recombinase mutants into distinct classes based on the stage in the recombination reaction at which they are blocked (O. Nanassy, Zoltan, and K. T. Hughes, Genetics 149:1649-1663, 1998). One class of DNA binding-proficient, recombination-deficient mutants was predicted by genetic classification to be defective in the step prior to invertasome formation. Based on the genetic criteria, mutants from this class were also inferred to be defective in interactions with Fis. In order to understand how the genetic classification relates to individual biochemical steps in the recombination reaction these mutants, R123Q, T124I, and A126T, were purified and characterized for DNA cleavage and recombination activities. Both the T124I and A126T mutants were partially active, whereas the R123Q mutant was inactive. The A126T mutant was not as defective for recombination as the T124I allele and could be partially rescued for recombination both in vivo and in vitro by increasing the concentration of Fis protein. Rescue of the A126T allele required the Fis protein to be DNA binding proficient. A model for a postsynaptic role for Fis in the inversion reaction is presented.