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Cell. 2008 Oct 31;135(3):475-85. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.08.031.

The MatP/matS site-specific system organizes the terminus region of the E. coli chromosome into a macrodomain.

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  • 1Centre de Génétique Moléculaire du CNRS, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


The organization of the Escherichia coli chromosome into insulated macrodomains influences the segregation of sister chromatids and the mobility of chromosomal DNA. Here, we report that organization of the Terminus region (Ter) into a macrodomain relies on the presence of a 13 bp motif called matS repeated 23 times in the 800-kb-long domain. matS sites are the main targets in the E. coli chromosome of a newly identified protein designated MatP. MatP accumulates in the cell as a discrete focus that colocalizes with the Ter macrodomain. The effects of MatP inactivation reveal its role as main organizer of the Ter macrodomain: in the absence of MatP, DNA is less compacted, the mobility of markers is increased, and segregation of Ter macrodomain occurs early in the cell cycle. Our results indicate that a specific organizational system is required in the Terminus region for bacterial chromosome management during the cell cycle.

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