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J Bacteriol. 2007 Jul;189(14):5314-24. Epub 2007 May 11.

Distinct centromere-like parS sites on the two chromosomes of Vibrio spp.

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  • 1Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Vibrio cholerae, the cause of cholera, has two circular chromosomes. The parAB genes on each V. cholerae chromosome act to control chromosome segregation in a replicon-specific fashion. The chromosome I (ChrI) parAB genes (parAB1) govern the localization of the origin region of ChrI, while the chromosome II (ChrII) parAB genes (parAB2) control the segregation of ChrII. In addition to ParA and ParB proteins, Par systems require ParB binding sites (parS). Here we identified the parS sites on both V. cholerae chromosomes. We found three clustered origin-proximal ParB1 binding parS1 sites on ChrI. Deletion of these three parS1 sites abrogated yellow fluorescent protein (YFP)-ParB1 focus formation in vivo and resulted in mislocalization of the ChrI origin region. However, as observed in a parA1 mutant, mislocalization of the ChrI origin region in the parS1 mutant did not compromise V. cholerae growth, suggesting that additional (non-Par-related) mechanisms may mediate the partitioning of ChrI. We also identified 10 ParB2 binding parS2 sites, which differed in sequence from parS1. Fluorescent derivatives of ParB1 and ParB2 formed foci only with the cognate parS sequence. parABS2 appears to form a functional partitioning system, as we found that parABS2 was sufficient to stabilize an ordinarily unstable plasmid in Escherichia coli. Most parS2 sites were located within 70 kb of the ChrII origin of replication, but one parS2 site was found in the terminus region of ChrI. In contrast, in other sequenced vibrio species, the distribution of parS1 and parS2 sites was entirely chromosome specific.

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