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Microbiology. 2009 Apr;155(Pt 4):1215-25. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.025528-0.

Comparative analysis of Caulobacter chromosome replication origins.

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McGill University, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Montreal, QC H3A 2B4, Canada.


Caulobacter crescentus (CB15) initiates chromosome replication only in stalked cells and not in swarmers. To better understand this dimorphic control of chromosome replication, we isolated replication origins (oris) from freshwater Caulobacter (FWC) and marine Caulobacter (MCS) species. Previous studies implicated integration host factor (IHF) and CcrM DNA methylation sites in replication control. However, ori IHF and CcrM sites identified in the model FWC CB15 were only conserved among closely related FWCs. DnaA boxes and CtrA binding sites are established CB15 ori components. CtrA is a two-component regulator that blocks chromosome replication selectively in CB15 swarmers. DnaA boxes and CtrA sites were found in five FWC and three MCS oris. Usually, a DnaA box and a CtrA site were paired, suggesting that CtrA binding regulates DnaA activity. We tested this hypothesis by site-directed mutagenesis of an MCS10 ori which contains only one CtrA binding site overlapping a critical DnaA box. This overlapping site is unique in the whole MCS10 genome. Selective DnaA box mutations decreased replication, while selective CtrA binding site mutations increased replication of MCS10 ori plasmids. Therefore, both FWC and MCS oris use CtrA to repress replication. Despite this similarity, phylogenetic analysis unexpectedly shows that CtrA usage evolved separately among these Caulobacter oris. We discuss consensus oris and convergent ori evolution in differentiating bacteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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