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Res Microbiol. 1991 Feb-Apr;142(2-3):189-94.

Mutants defective in chromosome partitioning in E. coli.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, Kumamoto University Medical School, Japan.


Recent experimental results suggest that replicated daughter chromosomes (nucleoids) in Escherichia coli move non-progressively and abruptly at an early stage of the D (division) period from midcell toward the cell quarter positions, which will become the centres of the daughter cells. The chromosome positioning at the quarter positions was found to be controlled by the muk gene products. In muk mutants, normal size anucleate cells are spontaneously produced during cell division. The mukA gene is identical to the tolC gene encoding an outer membrane protein. The mukB gene codes for a 177-kDa protein. The amino acid sequence of the MukB protein deduced for the nucleotide sequence suggests that the MukB protein has five characteristic secondary structure domains: an amino-terminal globular domain containing a consensus sequence binding with ATP or another nucleotide. The central region of the protein consists of two alpha-helical coiled-coil domains and one globular domain. A carboxyl-terminal globular domain is rich in cysteine and positively charged residues arginine and lysine. Two MukB protein molecules might form a homodimer in the coiled-coil regions. The predicted secondary structure of the MukB protein suggests that the protein provides the force required for the positioning of nucleoids from midcell toward the cell quarters. The mukC and mukD genes are located at 88 and 41 min of the chromosome map, respectively.

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