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Annu Rev Genet. 2000;34:21-59.

Dynamic localization of bacterial and plasmid chromosomes.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Institute of Molecular Embryology and Genetics, Kumamoto University, Kuhonji 4-24-1, Kumamoto 862-0976, Japan.


Plasmid-encoded partition genes determine the dynamic localization of plasmid molecules from the mid-cell position to the 1/4 and 3/4 positions. Similarly, bacterial homologs of the plasmid genes participate in controlling the bidirectional migration of the replication origin (oriC) regions during sporulation and vegetative growth in Bacillus subtilis, but not in Escherichia coli. In E. coli, but not B. subtilis, the chromosomal DNA is fully methylated by DNA adenine methyltransferase. The E. coli SeqA protein, which binds preferentially to hemimethylated nascent DNA strands, exists as discrete foci in vivo. A single SeqA focus, which is a SeqA-hemimethylated DNA cluster, splits into two foci that then abruptly migrate bidirectionally to the 1/4 and 3/4 positions during replication. Replicated oriC copies are linked to each other for a substantial period of generation time, before separating from each other and migrating in opposite directions. The MukFEB complex of E. coli and Smc of B. subtilis appear to participate in the reorganization of bacterial sister chromosomes.

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