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Nucleic Acids Res. 1995 August 25; 23(16): 3119–3125.
PMCID: PMC366880

The DnaA box R4 in the minimal oriC is dispensable for initiation of Escherichia coli chromosome replication.


We have developed a genetic system with which to replace oriC+ on the Escherichia coli chromosome with modified oriC sequences constructed on plasmids. Using this system we have demonstrated that chromosomal oriC can tolerate the insertion of a 2 kb fragment at the HindIII site between DnaA boxes R3 and R4, whereas the same insertion completely inactivates cloned oriC. We have further found that although R4 is essential for the origin activity of cloned oriC, cells carrying a deletion of R4 in chromosomal oriC are viable. These results indicate that the oriC sequence necessary for initiation of chromosome replication is different from the so-called minimal oriC that was determined with cloned oriC. Flow cytometric analyses have revealed that these oriC mutations confer the initiation asynchrony phenotype. Introduction of the R4 deletion into a fis::kan mutant, which lacks the DNA bending protein FIS, renders the mutant cells inviable.

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