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Mol Microbiol. 2003 Jul;49(2):487-99.

Architecture of the ParF*ParG protein complex involved in prokaryotic DNA segregation.

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Department of Biomolecular Sciences, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, PO Box 88, Manchester M60 1QD, UK.


The mechanism by which low copy number plasmids are segregated at cell division involves the concerted action of two plasmid-encoded proteins that assemble on a centromere-like site. This study explores the topology of the DNA segregation machinery specified by the parFG locus of TP228, a partition system which is phylogenetically distinct from more well-characterized archetypes. A variety of genetic, biochemical and biophysical strategies revealed that the ParG protein is dimeric. ParF, which is more closely related to the cell division regulator MinD than to the prototypical ParA partition protein of plasmid P1, is instead multimeric and its polymeric state appears to be modulated by ATP which correlates with the proposed ATP-binding activity of ParF. ParG interacts in a sequence-specific manner with the DNA region upstream of the parFG locus and this binding is modulated by ParF. Intriguingly, the ParF and ParG proteins form at least two types of discrete complex in the absence of this region suggesting that the assembly dynamics of these proteins onto DNA is intricate.

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