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J Mol Biol. 2001 Mar 9;306(5):945-55.

Monomer/dimer ratios of replication protein modulate the DNA strand-opening in a replication origin.

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Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


DNA opening is an essential step in the initiation of replication via the Cairns mode of replication. The opening reaction was investigated in a gamma ori system by using hyperactive variants of plasmid R6K-encoded initiator protein, pi. Reactivity to KMnO4 (indicative of opening) within gamma ori DNA occurred in both strands of a superhelical template upon the combined addition of wt pi, DnaA and integration host factor (IHF), each protein known to specifically bind gamma ori. IHF, examined singly, enhanced reactivity to KMnO4. The IHF-dependent reactive residues, however, are distinct from those dependent on pi (wt and hyperactive variants). Remarkably, the DNA helix opening does not require IHF and/or DnaA when hyperactive variants of pi were used instead of wt protein. We present three lines of evidence consistent with the hypothesis that DNA strand separation is facilitated by pi monomers despite the fact that both monomers and dimers of the protein can bind to iterons (pi binding sites). Taken together, our data suggest that pi elicits its ability to modulate plasmid copy number at the DNA helix-opening step.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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