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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Oct;38(2):392-400.

Role of the mukB gene in chromosome and plasmid partition in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Uppsala University, Biomedical Center, Box 596, S-751 24 Uppsala, Sweden.


The intracellular locations of oriC and oriR1, the replication origins of the chromosome and plasmid R1, respectively, were visualized by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in exponentially growing populations of Escherichia coli. The locations of oriC and oriR1 (from a Par+ R1 plasmid) were unique and different in the wild-type host. In a mukB mutant, the positions were perturbed for both origins. The position of oriR1 from a plasmid with active partition (Par+) in the mukB host was as randomized as that of oriR1 from the Par- plasmid in a wild-type host. However, this mukB-induced randomization did not result in unstable inheritance of the Par+ plasmid, as measured by the conventional segregation assay. This might result from the preferential association of the Par+ plasmid with the bigger, decondensed nucleoid-containing daughters during cell division of MukB- cells, whereas the Par- plasmids were distributed at random and were lost by frequently ending up in anucleate cells.

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