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Mol Microbiol. 2006 Sep;61(5):1352-61.

The bacterial chromosome segregation protein Spo0J spreads along DNA from parS nucleation sites.

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Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RE, UK.


Regulation of chromosome inheritance is essential to ensure proper transmission of genetic information. To accomplish accurate genome segregation, cells organize their chromosomes and actively separate them prior to cytokinesis. In Bacillus subtilis the Spo0J protein is required for accurate chromosome segregation and it regulates the developmental switch from vegetative growth to sporulation. Spo0J is a DNA-binding protein that recognizes at least eight identified parS sites located near the origin of replication. As judged by fluorescence microscopy, Spo0J forms discrete foci associated with the oriC region of the chromosome throughout the cell cycle. In an attempt to determine the mechanisms utilized by Spo0J to facilitate productive chromosome segregation, we have investigated the DNA binding activity of Spo0J. In vivo we find Spo0J associates with several kilobases of DNA flanking its specific binding sites (parS) through a parS-dependent nucleation event that promotes lateral spreading of Spo0J along the chromosome. Using purified components we find that Spo0J has the ability to coat non-specific DNA substrates. These 'Spo0J domains' provide large structures near oriC that could potentially demark, organize or localize the origin region of the chromosome.

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