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Mol Microbiol. 2002 Jun;44(5):1367-75.

The datA locus predominantly contributes to the initiator titration mechanism in the control of replication initiation in Escherichia coli.

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Division of Biological Science, Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8602, Japan.


Replication of the Escherichia coli chromosome is initiated synchronously from all origins (oriC) present in a cell at a fixed time in the cell cycle under given steady state culture conditions. A mechanism to ensure the cyclic initiation events operates through the chromosomal site, datA, which titrates exceptionally large amounts of the bacterial initiator protein, DnaA, to prevent overinitiation. Deletion of the datA locus results in extra initiations and altered temporal control of replication. There are many other sites on the E. coli chromosome that can bind DnaA protein, but the contribution of these sites to the control of replication initiation has not been investigated. In the present study, seven major DnaA binding sites other than datA have been examined for their influence on the timing of replication initiation. Disruption of these seven major binding sites, either individually or together, had no effect on the timing of initiation of replication. Thus, datA seems to be a unique site that adjusts the balance between free and bound DnaA to ensure that there is only a single initiation event in each bacterial cell cycle. Mutation either in the second or the third DnaA box (a 9 basepair DnaA-binding sequence) in datA was enough to induce asynchronous and extra initiations of replication to a similar extent as that observed with the datA-deleted strain. These DnaA boxes may act as cores for the cooperative binding of DnaA to the entire datA region.

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