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J Bacteriol. 1991 Apr;173(8):2673-80.

Cell-cycle-specific F plasmid replication: regulation by cell size control of initiation.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor 48109-0620.


F plasmid replication during the Escherichia coli division cycle was investigated by using the membrane-elution technique to produce cells labeled at different times during the division cycle and scintillation counting for quantitative analysis of radioactive plasmid DNA. The F plasmid replicated, like the minichromosome, during a restricted portion of the bacterial division cycle; i.e., F plasmid replication is cell-cycle specific. The F plasmid replicated at a different time during the division cycle than a minichromosome present in the same cell. F plasmid replication coincided with doubling in the rate of enzyme synthesis from a plasmid-encoded gene. When the cell cycle age of replication of the F plasmid was determined over a range of growth rates, the cell size at which the F plasmid replicated followed the same rules as did replication of the bacterial chromosome--initiation occurred when a constant mass per origin was achieved--except that the initiation mass per origin for the F plasmid was different from that for the chromosome origin. In contrast, the high-copy mini-R6K plasmid replicated throughout the division cycle.

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