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Mol Microbiol. 1998 Jun;28(5):893-903.

Replication at the telomeres of the Streptomyces linear plasmid pSLA2.

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Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305-5120, USA.


The Streptomyces linear plasmid pSLA2 initiates DNA replication bidirectionally towards its telomeres from a site located near the centre of the molecule; at the telomeres, the recessed ends of lagging strands are filled in by non-displacing DNA synthesis. Here, we report experiments that test three proposed mechanisms for lagging-strand fill-in. We present data inconsistent with recombinational or terminal hairpin models for the formation of full-length duplex pSLA2 DNA. Instead, we find that deletions in short, distantly separated homologous palindromes in the leading-strand 3' overhang prevent propagation of linear pSLA2 DNA, implicating a mechanism of palindrome-mediated leading-strand fold-back in telomere replication. We further show that circularized pSLA2 DNA molecules are opened in vivo precisely at the terminal nucleotides of telomeres, generating functional linear replicons containing native telomeres covalently bound to a protein at their 5' DNA termini. Together, our results support a model in which pairing of multiple widely separated pSLA2 palindromes anchors the 3' end of the leading-strand overhang to a site near the overhang's base -- providing a recognition site for terminal-protein-primed DNA synthesis and subsequent endonucleolytic processing. Thus, the replication of Streptomyces plasmid telomeres may have features in common with the mechanism proposed for telomere replication in autonomous parvoviruses.

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