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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Oct;40(19):9647-60. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks742. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

Helicobacter pylori oriC--the first bipartite origin of chromosome replication in Gram-negative bacteria.

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Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Department of Microbiology, Weigla 12, 53-114 Wrocław, Poland.


Binding of the DnaA protein to oriC leads to DNA melting within the DNA unwinding element (DUE) and initiates replication of the bacterial chromosome. Helicobacter pylori oriC was previously identified as a region localized upstream of dnaA and containing a cluster of DnaA boxes bound by DnaA protein with a high affinity. However, no unwinding within the oriC sequence has been detected. Comprehensive in silico analysis presented in this work allowed us to identify an additional region (oriC2), separated from the original one (oriC1) by the dnaA gene. DnaA specifically binds both regions, but DnaA-dependent DNA unwinding occurs only within oriC2. Surprisingly, oriC2 is bound exclusively as supercoiled DNA, which directly shows the importance of the DNA topology in DnaA-oriC interactions, similarly as previously presented only for initiator-origin interactions in Archaea and some Eukaryota. We conclude that H. pylori oriC exhibits bipartite structure, being the first such origin discovered in a Gram-negative bacterium. The H. pylori mode of initiator-oriC interactions, with the loop formation between the subcomplexes of the discontinuous origin, resembles those discovered in Bacillus subtilis chromosome and in many plasmids, which might suggest a similar way of controlling initiation of replication.

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