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Nat Commun. 2016 Jul 5;7:12107. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12107.

Bacterial partition complexes segregate within the volume of the nucleoid.

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Centre de Biochimie Structurale, CNRS UMR5048, INSERM U1054, Université de Montpellier, 29 rue de Navacelles, 34090 Montpellier, France.
Laboratoire de Microbiologie et Génétique Moléculaires, Centre de Biologie Intégrative, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université de Toulouse, UPS, F-31000 Toulouse, France.
HHMI, Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior, The Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10065, USA.
Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE2 4AX, UK.


Precise and rapid DNA segregation is required for proper inheritance of genetic material. In most bacteria and archaea, this process is assured by a broadly conserved mitotic-like apparatus in which a NTPase (ParA) displaces the partition complex. Competing observations and models imply starkly different 3D localization patterns of the components of the partition machinery during segregation. Here we use super-resolution microscopies to localize in 3D each component of the segregation apparatus with respect to the bacterial chromosome. We show that Par proteins locate within the nucleoid volume and reveal that proper volumetric localization and segregation of partition complexes requires ATPase and DNA-binding activities of ParA. Finally, we find that the localization patterns of the different components of the partition system highly correlate with dense chromosomal regions. We propose a new mechanism in which the nucleoid provides a scaffold to guide the proper segregation of partition complexes.

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