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J Mol Biol. 1984 Apr 25;174(4):605-25.

Control of cell division by sex factor F in Escherichia coli. I. The 42.84-43.6 F segment couples cell division of the host bacteria with replication of plasmid DNA.


The F plasmid of Escherichia coli was used to study the genetic background of the control circuit in the bacteria that co-ordinates DNA replication and cell division of the host cells. When DNA replication of the F plasmid was blocked by growing cells carrying an amber-suppressible replication-defective F plasmid mutant under restrictive conditions, the cells continued to divide for about one generation until F plasmid was supposedly diluted to one copy per cell, and then they stopped dividing and formed non-septated filamentous cells. These observations suggest that completion of a round of replication is a necessary and sufficient condition of F DNA synthesis in the cell division of F+ bacteria; i.e. cell division of the F+ bacteria is coupled with DNA replication of the F plasmid. The observation that Giemsa-stainable materials in the filamentous cells were clustered in the center indicates that partitioning of chromosomal DNA (and presumably of F plasmid DNA) is also coupled with plasmid DNA replication. The function necessary for this coupling is carried by the 42.84-43.6 F (BamHI-PstI) segment, which is located outside the region essential for replication of the F plasmid. The nucleotide sequence demonstrates the existence of two open reading frames in this region, which encode polypeptides of 72 and 101 amino acids, respectively. These two reading frames are most likely to be transcribed as a single polycistronic message in the direction from the BamHI site at 42.84 F to the PstI site at 43.6 F. The expression of this "operon" is likely to be controlled by plasmid DNA replication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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