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Plasmid. 2004 Nov;52(3):151-68.

Host controlled plasmid replication: Escherichia coli minichromosomes.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Uppsala University, Biomedical Centre, Box 596, SE-751 24, Sweden.


Escherichia coli minichromosomes are plasmids replicating exclusively from a cloned copy of oriC, the chromosomal origin of replication. They are therefore subject to the same types of replication control as imposed on the chromosome. Unlike natural plasmid replicons, minichromosomes do not adjust their replication rate to the cellular copy number and they do not contain information for active partitioning at cell division. Analysis of mutant strains where minichromosomes cannot be established suggest that their mere existence is dependent on the factors that ensure timely once per cell cycle initiation of replication. These observations indicate that replication initiation in E. coli is normally controlled in such a way that all copies of oriC contained within the cell, chromosomal and minichromosomal, are initiated within a fairly short time interval of the cell cycle. Furthermore, both replication and segregation of the bacterial chromosome seem to be controlled by sequences outside the origin itself.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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