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Cell. 1990 Sep 7;62(5):981-9.

The role of dam methyltransferase in the control of DNA replication in E. coli.

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Department of Biophysics, Institute of Cancer Research, Montebello, Oslo, Norway.


The timing and control of initiation of DNA replication in E. coli was studied under conditions where the cellular level of dam methyltransferase was controlled by a temperature-inducible promoter. Flow cytometry was used to demonstrate that the synchrony of initiation at the several origins within each cell was critically dependent on the level of dam methyltransferase. Initiations were shown to be synchronous only in a narrow temperature range. The data are explained by a model where a newly replicated and therefore hemimethylated oriC is inert for reinitiation. Such a model may be applicable to eukaryotic cells, where classes of origins are initiated in synchrony and only once per cell cycle.

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