Exonuclease III, encoded by the xthA gene, plays a central role in the base excision pathway of DNA repair in bacteria. Studies with Escherichia coli xthA mutants have also shown that exonuclease III participates in the repair of oxidative damage to DNA. An isogenic xthA-1 mutant (designated CAM220) derived from virulent Brucella abortus 2308 exhibited increased sensitivity to the alkylating agent methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) compared to the parent strain. In contrast, 2308 and the isogenic xthA-1 mutant displayed similar levels of resistance to the DNA cross-linker mitomycin C. These phenotypic properties are those that would be predicted for a strain defective in base excision repair. The B. abortus xthA-1 mutant also displayed reduced resistance to killing by H2O2 and the ONOO(-)-generating compound 3-morpholinosydnonimine (SIN-1) compared to strain 2308, indicating that the xthA-1 gene product participates in protecting B. abortus 2308 from oxidative damage. Introducing a plasmid-borne copy of the parental xthA-1 gene into CAM220 restored wild-type resistance of this mutant to MMS, H2O2, and SIN-1. Although the B. abortus xthA-1 mutant exhibited increased sensitivity to oxidative killing compared to the parental strain in laboratory assays, CAM220 and 2308 displayed equivalent spleen colonization profiles in C57BL/6 [corrected] mice through 8 weeks postinfection and equivalent intracellular survival and replication profiles in cultured murine macrophages. Thus, although the xthA-1 gene product participates in base excision repair and resistance to oxidative killing in B. abortus 2308, XthA-1 is not required for wild-type virulence of this strain in the mouse model.