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Mol Microbiol. 2001 Dec;42(5):1363-70.

Pairing of P1 plasmid partition sites by ParB.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 37 Convent Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892-4255, USA.


The mechanisms by which bacterial plasmids and chromosomes are partitioned are largely obscure, but it has long been assumed that the molecules to be separated are initially paired, as are sister chromatids in mitosis. We offer in vivo evidence that the partition protein ParB encoded by the bacterial plasmid P1 can pair cis-acting partition sites of P1 inserted in a small, multicopy plasmid. ParB was shown previously to be capable of extensive spreading along DNA flanking the partition sites. Experiments in which ParB spreading was constrained by physical roadblocks suggest that extensive spreading is not required for the pairing process.

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