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EMBO Rep. 2002 Jun;3(6):532-6. Epub 2002 May 24.

A dual role for the FtsK protein in Escherichia coli chromosome segregation.

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Laboratoire de Microbiologie et de Génétique Moléculaire du CNRS, 118, route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse Cedex, France.


FtsK is a multifunctional protein that acts in Escherichia coli cell division and chromosome segregation. Its C-terminal domain is required for XerCD-mediated recombination between dif sites that resolve chromosome dimers formed by recombination between sister chromosomes. We report the construction and analysis of a set of strains carrying different Xer recombination sites in place of dif, some of which recombine in an FtsK-independent manner. The results show that FtsK-independent Xer recombination does not support chromosome dimer resolution. Furthermore, resolution of dimers by the Cre/loxP system also requires FtsK. These findings reveal a second role for FtsK during chromosome dimer resolution in addition to XerCD activation. We propose that FtsK acts to position the dif regions, thus allowing a productive synapse between dif sites.

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