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EMBO J. 2005 Apr 6;24(7):1453-64. Epub 2005 Mar 10.

Bacterial DNA segregation dynamics mediated by the polymerizing protein ParF.

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Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.


Prokaryotic DNA segregation most commonly involves members of the Walker-type ParA superfamily. Here we show that the ParF partition protein specified by the TP228 plasmid is a ParA ATPase that assembles into extensive filaments in vitro. Polymerization is potentiated by ATP binding and does not require nucleotide hydrolysis. Analysis of mutations in conserved residues of the Walker A motif established a functional coupling between filament dynamics and DNA partitioning. The partner partition protein ParG plays two separable roles in the ParF polymerization process. ParF is unrelated to prokaryotic polymerizing proteins of the actin or tubulin families, but is a homologue of the MinD cell division protein, which also assembles into filaments. The ultrastructures of the ParF and MinD polymers are remarkably similar. This points to an evolutionary parallel between DNA segregation and cytokinesis in prokaryotic cells, and reveals a potential molecular mechanism for plasmid and chromosome segregation mediated by the ubiquitous ParA-type proteins.

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