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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 May 15;109(20):7711-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1121546109. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

Tubulin homolog TubZ in a phage-encoded partition system.

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  • 1Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 28040 Madrid, Spain.


Partition systems are responsible for the process whereby large and essential plasmids are accurately positioned to daughter cells during bacterial division. They are typically made of three components: a centromere-like DNA zone, an adaptor protein, and an assembling protein that is either a Walker-box ATPase (type I) or an actin-like ATPase (type II). A recently described type III segregation system has a tubulin/FtsZ-like protein, called TubZ, for plasmid movement. Here, we present the 2.3 Å structure and dynamic assembly of a TubZ tubulin homolog from a bacteriophage and unravel the Clostridium botulinum phage c-st type III partition system. Using biochemical and biophysical approaches, we prove that a gene upstream from tubZ encodes the partner TubR and localize the centromeric region (tubS), both of which are essential for anchoring phage DNA to the motile TubZ filaments. Finally, we describe a conserved fourth component, TubY, which modulates the TubZ-R-S complex interaction.

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