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Plasmid. 2003 Jul;50(1):45-52.

Role of the cgtA gene function in DNA replication of extrachromosomal elements in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Institute of Biotechnology, Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of the University of Gdańsk and Medical University of Gdańsk, Kładki 24, 80-822 Gdańsk, Poland.


The cgtA gene codes for a common GTP-binding protein whose homologues were found in all prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms investigated so far. Although cgtA is an essential gene in most bacterial species, its precise functions in the regulation of cellular processes are largely unknown. In Escherichia coli, dysfunction or overexpression of the cgtA gene causes problems in various chromosomal functions, like synchronization of DNA replication initiation and partitioning of daughter chromosomes after a replication round. It is not know how the cgtA gene product regulates these processes. Here we investigated effects of cgtA dysfunction on replication of plasmid and phage replicons. We found that replication of some plasmids (e.g., ColE1-like) is not affected in the cgtA mutant. On the other hand, dysfunction of the cgtA gene caused a strong inhibition of lambda plasmid DNA replication. Bacteriophage lambda development was severely impaired in the cgtA mutant. Replication of other plasmid replicons (derivatives of F, R1, R6K, and RK2) was influenced by the cgtA mutation moderately. It seems that DNA synthesis per se is not affected by CgtA, and that this protein might control replication initiation indirectly, by regulation of function(s) or production of one or more replication factors. In fact, we found that level of the host-encoded replication protein DnaA is significantly decreased in the cgtA mutant. This indicates that CgtA is involved in the regulation of dnaA gene expression.

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