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Mol Gen Genet. 1998 Feb;257(4):392-403.

Autoregulation of the partition genes of the mini-F plasmid and the intracellular localization of their products in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Japan.


The sopAB operon and the sopC sequence, which acts as a centromere, are essential for stable maintenance of the mini-F plasmid. Immunoprecipitation experiments with purified SopA and SopB proteins have demonstrated that these proteins interact in vitro. Expression studies using the lacZ gene as a reporter revealed that the sopAB operon is repressed by the cooperative action of SopA and SopB. Using immunofluorescence microscopy, we found discrete fluorescent foci of SopA and SopB in cells that produce both SopA and SopB in the presence of the sopC DNA segment, but not in the absence of sopC, suggesting the SopA-SopB complex binds to sopC segments. SopA was exclusively found to colocalize with nucleoids in cells that produced only SopA, while, in the absence of SopA, SopB was distributed in the cytosolic spaces.

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