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Mol Microbiol. 2005 Jan;55(1):175-83.

A cis-acting sequence involved in chromosome segregation in Escherichia coli.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry, CCR, NCI, NIH, Bldg. 37, Bethesda, MD 20892-4255, USA.


Eukaryotic chromosomes contain a locus, the centromere, at which force is applied to separate replicated chromosomes. A centromere analogue is also found in some bacterial plasmids and chromosomes, although not yet identified in the well-studied Escherichia coli chromosome. We aimed to identify centromere-like sequences in E. coli with the premise that such sequences would be the first to migrate towards the cell poles, away from the cell centre where DNA replication is believed to occur. We have labelled different loci on the chromosome by integrating arrays of binding sites for LacI-EYFP and phage lambdacI-ECFP and supplying these fusion proteins in trans. Comparison of such pairs of loci suggests the presence of a centromere-like site close to the origin of replication. Polar migration of the site was dependent on migS, a locus recently implicated in chromosome migration, thus providing strong support for migS being the E. coli centromere.

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