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Mol Microbiol. 2002 Nov;46(4):985-96.

The segregation of the Escherichia coli origin and terminus of replication.

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Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory, Center for Cancer Research, Frederick, Maryland 21702-1201, USA.


Escherichia coli chromosome replication forks are tethered to the cell centre. Two opposing models describe how the chromosomes segregate. In the extrusion-capture model, newly replicated DNA is fed bi-directionally from the forks toward the cell poles, forming new chromosomes in each cell half. Starting with the origins, chromosomal regions segregate away from their sisters progressively as they are replicated. The termini segregate last. In the sister chromosome cohesion model, replication produces sister chromosomes that are paired along much of their length. The origins and most other chromosomal regions remain paired until late in the replication cycle, and all segregate together. We use a combination of microscopy and flow cytometry to determine the relationship of origin and terminus segregation to the cell cycle. Origin segregation frequently follows closely after initiation, in strong support of the extrusion-capture model. The spatial disposition of the origin and terminus sequences also fits this model. Terminus segregation occurs extremely late in the cell cycle as the daughter cells separate. As the septum begins to invaginate, the termini of the completed sister chromosomes are transiently held apart at the cell centre, on opposite sides of the cell. This may facilitate the resolution of topological linkages between the chromosomes.

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