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Mol Microbiol. 2007 May;64(3):703-18.

Whole-genome analysis of the chromosome partitioning and sporulation protein Spo0J (ParB) reveals spreading and origin-distal sites on the Bacillus subtilis chromosome.

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Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


We investigated the genome-wide DNA binding of the chromosome partitioning and sporulation protein and ParB family member Spo0J in Bacillus subtilis using chromatin immunoprecipitation and DNA microarrays. We identified 10 parS loci to which Spo0J binds, two of which were unexpectedly distant (> 1 Mb) from the origin of replication. We used all 10 sites to refine the consensus sequence for parS. We found that Spo0J spreads along the DNA around each site. Binding was near maximal levels up to 1.6 kb away from parS, and significantly above background as far away as 18 kb. Deletion of soj (parA) had little or no effect on spreading. In contrast, the spo0J93 allele appeared to cause a significant decrease in spreading in vivo, without significantly affecting the DNA binding affinity in vitro. spo0J93 causes a phenotype similar to that of a spo0J null mutant and alters the region thought to be involved in interaction between Spo0J dimers. Our findings indicate that spreading is important for in vivo function of Spo0J. Gene expression in areas near parS sites was similar in wild type and a spo0J null mutant, indicating that binding and spreading of Spo0J on DNA does not normally silence transcription of nearby genes.

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