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Microbiology. 2018 Jan;164(1):45-56. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.000577. Epub 2017 Nov 21.

ParA-like protein influences the distribution of multi-copy chromosomes in cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942.

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1​Department of Bioscience, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Tokyo, Japan.
2​Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST), Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Japan.
3​Department of Cell Genetics, National Institute of Genetics, Shizuoka, 411-8540, Japan.
4​Genome Research Center, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Tokyo, Japan.


While many bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, harbour a single-copy chromosome, freshwater cyanobacteria have multiple copies of each chromosome per cell. Although it has been reported that multi-copy chromosomes are evenly distributed along the major axis of the cell in cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942, the distribution mechanism of these chromosomes remains unclear. In S. elongatus, the carboxysome, a metabolic microcompartment for carbon fixation that is distributed in a similar manner to the multi-copy chromosomes, is regulated by ParA-like protein (hereafter ParA). To elucidate the role of ParA in the distribution of multi-copy chromosomes, we constructed and analysed ParA disruptant and overexpressing strains of S. elongatus. Our fluorescence in situ hybridization assay revealed that the parA disruptants displayed an aberrant distribution of their multi-copy chromosomes. In the parA disruptant the multiple origin and terminus foci, corresponding to the intracellular position of each chromosomal region, were aggregated, which was compensated by the expression of exogenous ParA from other genomic loci. The parA disruptant is sensitive to UV-C compared to the WT strain. Additionally, giant cells appeared under ParA overexpression at the late stage of growth indicating that excess ParA indirectly inhibits cell division. Screening of the ParA-interacting proteins by yeast two-hybrid analysis revealed four candidates that are involved in DNA repair and cell membrane biogenesis. These results suggest that ParA is involved in the pleiotropic cellular functions with these proteins, while parA is dispensable for cell viability in S. elongatus.


cell division; chromosomal distribution; cyanobacteria; cytoskeleton

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