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J Mol Biol. 2006 Mar 3;356(4):850-63. Epub 2005 Dec 20.

Subcellular positioning of F plasmid mediated by dynamic localization of SopA and SopB.

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Department of Radiation Genetics, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Konoe-cho, Yoshida, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


SopA, SopB proteins and the cis-acting sopC DNA region of F plasmid are essential for partitioning of the plasmid, ensuring proper subcellular positioning of the plasmid DNA molecules. We have analyzed by immunofluorescence microscopy the subcellular localization of SopA and SopB. The majority of SopB molecules formed foci, which localized frequently with F plasmid DNA molecules. The foci increased in number in proportion to the cell length. Interestingly, beside the foci formation, SopB formed a spiral structure that was dependent on SopA, which also formed a spiral structure, independent of the presence of SopB, and these two structures partially overlapped. On the basis of these results and previous biochemical studies together with our simulations, we propose a theoretical model named "the reaction-diffusion partitioning model", using reaction-diffusion equations that explain the dynamic subcellular localization of SopA and SopB proteins and the subcellular positioning of F plasmid. We hypothesized that sister copies of plasmid DNA compete with each other for sites at which SopB multimer is at the optimum concentration. The plasmid incompatibility mediated by the Sop system might be explained clearly by this hypothesis.

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