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Free Content The role of Par proteins in the active segregation of the P1 plasmid

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The parS centromere-like site promotes active P1 plasmid segregation in the presence of P1 ParA and ParB proteins. At the modest growth rate used here, time-lapse and still photomicroscopy shows that the plasmid copies are clustered as a focus at the Escherichia coli cell centre. Just before cell division, the focus is actively divided and ejects bidirectionally into opposite halves of the dividing cell. In the absence of the wild-type parS binding protein ParB, a focus was formed, but generally did not go to the cell centre. The randomly placed focus did not divide and was inherited by one daughter cell only. In the absence of ParA, foci formed and frequently fixed to the cell centre. However, they failed to divide or eject and were left at the new cell pole of one cell at division. Thus, ParB appears to be required for recognition of the plasmid and its attachment to the cell centre, and ParA is required for focus division and energetic ejection from the cell centre. The ATPase active site mutation, parAK122E, blocked ejection. Mutant parAM314I ejected weakly, and the daughter foci took two generations to reach a new cell centre. This explains the novel alternation of segregation and missegregation in successive generations seen in time-lapse images of this mutant.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory, National Cancer Institute, CCR, NCI-Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702-1201, USA.

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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