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J Mol Biol. 1990 Apr 20;212(4):709-22.

Plasmid and chromosomal DNA replication and partitioning during the Caulobacter crescentus cell cycle.

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Department of Developmental Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305.


Cell division in Caulobacter crescentus yields a swarmer and a stalked cell. Only the stalked cell progeny is able to replicate its chromosome, and the swarmer cell progeny must differentiate into a stalked cell before it too can replicate its chromosome. In an effort to understand the mechanisms that limit chromosomal replication to the stalked cell, plasmid DNA synthesis was analyzed during the developmental cell cycle of C. crescentus, and the partitioning of both the plasmids and the chromosomes to the progeny cells was examined. Unlike the chromosome, plasmids from the incompatibility groups Q and P replicated in all C. crescentus cell types. However, all plasmids tested showed a ten- to 20-fold higher replication rate in the stalked cells than the swarmer cells. We observed that all plasmids replicated during the C. crescentus cell cycle with comparable kinetics of DNA synthesis, even though we tested plasmids that encode very different known (and putative) replication proteins. We determined the plasmid copy number in both progeny cell types, and determined that plasmids partitioned equally to the stalked and swarmer cells. We also reexamined chromosome partitioning in a recombination-deficient strain of C. crescentus, and confirmed an earlier report that chromosomes partition to the progeny stalked and swarmer cells in a random manner that does not discriminate between old and new DNA strands.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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