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Mol Microbiol. 2005 Feb;55(4):978-85.

Building a bacterial orisome: emergence of new regulatory features for replication origin unwinding.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 W. University Blvd., Melbourne, FL 32901, USA.


Triggering new rounds of chromosomal DNA replication during the bacterial cell cycle is exquisitely regulated, ensuring both proper timing and one round per cycle stringency. A critical first step is stable unwinding of oriC, the chromosomal replication origin, by multiprotein orisome complexes comprising the AAA+ initiator DnaA and modulator proteins that bend DNA. Recently identified oriC-DnaA interactions in Escherichia coli raise important questions regarding the molecular mechanisms that regulate origin unwinding in bacteria. We describe staged binding of E. coli origin recognition proteins and suggest an unwinding switch based on interactions between DnaA-ATP and specialized oriC sites that must be filled during orisome assembly. By focusing multiple regulatory pathways on only a few key oriC DNA-protein interactions, this model includes an efficient way to control unwinding followed by orisome inactivation during the cell cycle. Future studies will determine whether this regulatory scheme is correct and whether it is generally applicable to other bacterial types.

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