Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Microbiol. 1997 Aug;25(3):509-16.

The relaxosome protein MobC promotes conjugal plasmid mobilization by extending DNA strand separation to the nick site at the origin of transfer.

Author information

Department of Microbiology, University of Texas, Austin 78712, USA.


The frequency of conjugal mobilization of plasmid R1162 is decreased approximately 50-fold if donor cells lack MobC, one of the plasmid-encoded proteins making up the relaxosome at the origin of transfer (oriT). The absence of MobC has several different effects on oriT DNA. Site- and strand-specific nicking by MobA protein is severely reduced, accounting for the lower frequency of mobilization. The localized DNA strand separation required for this nicking is less affected, but becomes more sensitive to the level of active DNA gyrase in the cell. In addition, strand separation is not efficiently extended through the region containing the nick site. These effects suggest a model in which MobC acts as a molecular wedge for the relaxosome-induced melting of oriT DNA. The effect of MobC on strand separation may be partially complemented by the helical distortion induced by supercoiling. However, MobC extends the melted region through the nick site, thus providing the single-stranded substrate required for cleavage by MobA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center