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J Mol Biol. 1990 Jul 5;214(1):73-84.

Identification of the replication terminator protein binding sites in the terminus region of the Bacillus subtilis chromosome and stoichiometry of the binding.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Sydney, N.S.W., Australia.


DNase I footprinting of the interaction between the replication terminator protein (RTP) of Bacillus subtilis and the inverted repeat region (IRR) at the chromosome terminus, to which it binds to block the clockwise replication fork, showed that two major regions of 41 base pairs (bp) were protected from cleavage. These regions corresponded approximately to the imperfect inverted repeats (IRI and IRII) identified previously. Band retardation analyses of the interaction between RTP and portions of the IRR established that each inverted repeat (IRI or IRII) contained two RTP binding sites. By sedimentation equilibrium in the ultracentrifuge, RTP was found to exist as a dimer of 29 kDa at neutral pH and concentrations above 0.2 g/l. Quantitative studies of the RTP-IRR interaction using [3H]RTP and [32P]IRR showed that the fully saturated complex contained eight RTP monomers per IRR. It is concluded that a dimer of RTP binds to each of the four sites in IRR. The apparent dissociation constant for the interaction was estimated (in the presence of 50% glycerol) to be 1.2 x 10(-11) M (dimer of RTP). Glycerol was found to have a marked effect on the affinity of RTP for the IRR and on the relative amounts of the interaction complexes formed; in the absence of glycerol the dissociation constant was approximately 50-fold higher and there was pronounced co-operative binding of RTP dimers to adjacent sites in each inverted repeat. Examination of the DNA sequence in IRI and IRII identified two 8 bp direct repeats in each. The regions protected from DNase I cleavage in each inverted repeat and the protection afforded by a core sequence spanning just one of the 8 bp direct repeats were consistent with each 8 bp repeat representing a recognition sequence for the RTP dimer. A model describing the binding of RTP to the IRR is presented.

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