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Mol Microbiol. 1996 May;20(3):581-92.

The centromere-like parC locus of plasmid R1.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Odense University, Denmark.


The parA partitioning system of plasmid R1 consists of three components: the cis-acting centromere-like parC locus, and two proteins, ParM and ParR. The parC locus contains two sets of five direct repeats (iterons) to which the ParR protein binds. The parA promoter is located in the core region between the two sets of iterons. Mini-R1 replicons carrying parC are stabilized by the simultaneous presence of ParM and ParR. The parC locus present on a co-resident plasmid leads to instability of the mini-R1 replicon (incompatibility). Here we present a genetic analysis of the stability and incompatibility phenotypes associated with parC. We show that all 10 iterons are required for maximum stabilization and incompatibility. Replacement of the core promoter region between the repeats by a foreign promoter region did not reduce stabilization. Thus, the only structural components in parC seem to be the two sets of iterons. The parA promoter, P parA, is repressed by ParR. We show that all 10 iterons are required for full repression of the promoter. The activity of the promoter was influenced by sequences located outside the core region. An A-rich region located upstream of the -35 element of PparA was found to increase promoter activity. The region encoding the parA mRNA leader region also strongly influenced the expression level of PparA- lacZ fusions. We show that this high expression (hex) element is a transcriptional antiterminator that prevents Rho-dependent termination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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