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Mol Microbiol. 2013 Oct;90(1):147-59. doi: 10.1111/mmi.12353. Epub 2013 Aug 23.

YabA and DnaD inhibit helix assembly of the DNA replication initiation protein DnaA.

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Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE2 4AX, UK.


Control of DNA replication initiation is essential for cell growth. A unifying characteristic of DNA replication initiator proteins is their distinctive AAA+ nucleotide-binding domains. The bacterial initiator DnaA assembles into a right-handed helical oligomer built upon interactions between neighbouring AAA+ domains to form an active initiation complex. Recently we developed a unique cross-linking assay that specifically detects ATP-dependent DnaA helix assembly. Here we have utilized this assay to show that two DnaA regulatory proteins in Bacillus subtilis, YabA and DnaD, inhibit DnaA helix formation. These results, in combination with our previous finding that the regulatory factor Soj/ParA also targets DnaA filament formation, highlight the critical importance of regulating DnaA helix formation during the initiation reaction. Moreover, these observations lead us to suggest that DnaA oligomerization may be the main regulatory step of the initiator assembly pathway in B. subtilis, in contrast to the prevailing model of bacterial DNA replication based on Escherichia coli DnaA where ATP binding appears to be the targeted activity.

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