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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33613. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033613. Epub 2012 Mar 19.

Replication fork reactivation in a dnaC2 mutant at non-permissive temperature in Escherichia coli.

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Centre de Genetique Moleculaire du CNRS, Gif Sur Yvette, France.


Replicative helicases unwind double-stranded DNA in front of the polymerase and ensure the processivity of DNA synthesis. In Escherichia coli, the helicase loader DnaC as well as factors involved in the formation of the open complex during the initiation of replication and primosomal proteins during the reactivation of arrested replication forks are required to recruit and deposit the replicative helicase onto single-stranded DNA prior to the formation of the replisome. dnaC2 is a thermosensitive allele of the gene specifying the helicase loader; at non-permissive temperature replication cannot initiate, but most ongoing rounds of replication continues through to completion (18% of dnaC2 cells fail to complete replication at non-permissive temperature). An assumption, which may be drawn from this observation, is that only a few replication forks are arrested under normal growth conditions. This assumption, however, is at odds with the severe and deleterious phenotypes associated with a null mutant of priA, the gene encoding a helicase implicated in the reactivation of arrested replication forks. We developed an assay that involves an abrupt inactivation of rounds of synchronized replication in a large population of cells, in order to evaluate the ability of dnaC2 cells to reactivate arrested replication forks at non-permissive temperature. We compared the rate at which arrested replication forks accumulated in dnaC2 priA(+) and dnaC2 priA2 cells and observed that this rate was lower in dnaC2 priA(+) cells. We conclude that while replication cannot initiate in a dnaC2 mutant at non-permissive temperature, a class of arrested replication forks (PriA-dependent and DnaC-independent) are reactivated within these cells.

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