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Mol Biol Rep. 2002;29(1-2):79-82.

DNA supercoiling by gyrase is linked to nucleoid compaction.

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Molecular Cell Physiology, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Erratum in

  • Mol Biol Rep. 2003 Jun;30(2):133.


The genes of E. coli are located on a circular chromosome of 4.6 million basepairs. This 1.6 mm long molecule is compressed into a nucleoid to fit inside the 1-2 microm cell in a functional format. To examine the role of DNA supercoiling as nucleoid compaction force we modulated the activity of DNA gyrase by electronic, genetic, and chemical means. A model based on physical properties of DNA and other cell components predicts that relaxation of supercoiling expands the nucleoid. Nucleoid size did not increase after reduction of DNA gyrase activity by genetic or chemical means, but nucleoids did expand upon chemical inhibition of gyrase in chloramphenicol-treated cells, indicating that supercoiling may help to compress the genome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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