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EMBO J. 1999 Nov 1; 18(21): 5873–5884.
PMCID: PMC1171653

Complex formation of MukB, MukE and MukF proteins involved in chromosome partitioning in Escherichia coli.


mukF, mukE and mukB genes are essential for the process of chromosome partitioning in Escherichia coli. We have studied protein-protein interactions among MukB, MukE and MukF proteins by co-immunoprecipitation and sucrose gradient sedimentation experiments, using mukFEB null cells harboring plasmids carrying the wild-type or mutant-type mukFEB operon. MukB forms a complex with MukF and MukE. Analysis of mutant MukB proteins suggested that MukF and MukE bind the C-terminal globular domain of MukB. MukF is indispensable for an interaction between MukB and MukE; however, MukF itself is able to associate with MukB even in the absence of MukE. We have also found that MukF has a Ca(2+)-binding activity. Although purified MukF was able to make a complex either with MukE or MukB, a complex consisting of the three Muk proteins was barely detected in vitro. However, increasing the Ca(2+) or Mg(2+) concentration in the reaction partially restored complex formation. This suggests that Ca(2+) or Mg(2+) may be required for the formation of a complex consisting of the three Muk proteins, and thus may participate in a particular step during chromosome partitioning.

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