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1.  Asymmetry of Chromosome Replichores Renders the DNA Translocase Activity of FtsK Essential for Cell Division and Cell Shape Maintenance in Escherichia coli 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(12):e1000288.
Bacterial chromosomes are organised as two replichores of opposite polarity that coincide with the replication arms from the ori to the ter region. Here, we investigated the effects of asymmetry in replichore organisation in Escherichia coli. We show that large chromosome inversions from the terminal junction of the replichores disturb the ongoing post-replicative events, resulting in inhibition of both cell division and cell elongation. This is accompanied by alterations of the segregation pattern of loci located at the inversion endpoints, particularly of the new replichore junction. None of these defects is suppressed by restoration of termination of replication opposite oriC, indicating that they are more likely due to the asymmetry of replichore polarity than to asymmetric replication. Strikingly, DNA translocation by FtsK, which processes the terminal junction of the replichores during cell division, becomes essential in inversion-carrying strains. Inactivation of the FtsK translocation activity leads to aberrant cell morphology, strongly suggesting that it controls membrane synthesis at the division septum. Our results reveal that FtsK mediates a reciprocal control between processing of the replichore polarity junction and cell division.
Author Summary
In most bacteria, chromosomes consist of a single replication unit. Replication initiates at a single ori and terminates in the diametrically opposite zone, ter, defining two replication arms. These are also called replichores to account for base composition and sequence motif polarity biases from ori to ter. This organisation as symmetrical replichores is conserved in bacteria. Here, we have investigated the effect of replichore asymmetry in E. coli. We show that it blocks the cell cycle at a step posterior to chromosome replication. This phenotype is not corrected by restoration of the termination of replication opposite ori, strongly suggesting that it is due to the asymmetry of replichore polarity. FtsK, a DNA-translocase associated with the division septum that processes the terminal junction of replichore polarity, is essential for growth and for the controlled blockage of cell growth in cells with asymmetric replichores. These results reveal a reciprocal control between the processing of the terminal junction of the replichores by FtsK and the progression of the cell cycle.
PMCID: PMC2585057  PMID: 19057667
2.  Chromosome Structuring Limits Genome Plasticity in Escherichia coli 
PLoS Genetics  2007;3(12):e226.
Chromosome organizations of related bacterial genera are well conserved despite a very long divergence period. We have assessed the forces limiting bacterial genome plasticity in Escherichia coli by measuring the respective effect of altering different parameters, including DNA replication, compositional skew of replichores, coordination of gene expression with DNA replication, replication-associated gene dosage, and chromosome organization into macrodomains. Chromosomes were rearranged by large inversions. Changes in the compositional skew of replichores, in the coordination of gene expression with DNA replication or in the replication-associated gene dosage have only a moderate effect on cell physiology because large rearrangements inverting the orientation of several hundred genes inside a replichore are only slightly detrimental. By contrast, changing the balance between the two replication arms has a more drastic effect, and the recombinational rescue of replication forks is required for cell viability when one of the chromosome arms is less than half than the other one. Macrodomain organization also appears to be a major factor restricting chromosome plasticity, and two types of inverted configurations severely affect the cell cycle. First, the disruption of the Ter macrodomain with replication forks merging far from the normal replichore junction provoked chromosome segregation defects. The second major problematic configurations resulted from inversions between Ori and Right macrodomains, which perturb nucleoid distribution and early steps of cytokinesis. Consequences for the control of the bacterial cell cycle and for the evolution of bacterial chromosome configuration are discussed.
Author Summary
Genomic analyses have revealed that bacterial genomes are dynamic entities that evolve through various processes including intrachromosome genetic rearrangements, gene duplication, and gene loss or acquisition by gene transfer. Nevertheless, comparison of bacterial chromosomes from related genera revealed a conservation of genetic organization. Most bacterial genomes are circular molecules, and DNA replication proceeds bidirectionally from a single origin to an opposite region where replication forks meet. The replication process imprints the bacterial chromosome because initiation and termination at defined loci result in strand biases due to the mutational differences occurring during leading and lagging strands synthesis. We analyze the strength of different parameters that may limit genome plasticity. We show that the preferential positioning of essential genes on the leading strand, the proximity of genes involved in transcription and translation to the origin of replication on the leading strand, and the presence of biased motifs along the replichores operate only as long-term positive selection determinants. By contrast, selection operates to maintain replication arms of similar lengths. Finally, we demonstrate that spatial structuring of the chromosome impedes strongly genome plasticity. Genetic evidence supports the presence of two steps in the cell cycle controlled by the spatial organization of the chromosome.
PMCID: PMC2134941  PMID: 18085828
3.  Independent Segregation of the Two Arms of the Escherichia coli ori Region Requires neither RNA Synthesis nor MreB Dynamics ▿ § ‡  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(23):6143-6153.
The mechanism of Escherichia coli chromosome segregation remains elusive. We present results on the simultaneous tracking of segregation of multiple loci in the ori region of the chromosome in cells growing under conditions in which a single round of replication is initiated and completed in the same generation. Loci segregated as expected for progressive replication-segregation from oriC, with markers placed symmetrically on either side of oriC segregating to opposite cell halves at the same time, showing that sister locus cohesion in the origin region is local rather than extensive. We were unable to observe any influence on segregation of the proposed centromeric site, migS, or indeed any other potential cis-acting element on either replication arm (replichore) in the AB1157 genetic background. Site-specific inhibition of replication close to oriC on one replichore did not prevent segregation of loci on the other replichore. Inhibition of RNA synthesis and inhibition of the dynamic polymerization of the actin homolog MreB did not affect ori and bulk chromosome segregation.
PMCID: PMC2981198  PMID: 20889756
4.  Tracking of Chromosome and Replisome Dynamics in Myxococcus xanthus Reveals a Novel Chromosome Arrangement 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(9):e1003802.
Cells closely coordinate cell division with chromosome replication and segregation; however, the mechanisms responsible for this coordination still remain largely unknown. Here, we analyzed the spatial arrangement and temporal dynamics of the 9.1 Mb circular chromosome in the rod-shaped cells of Myxococcus xanthus. For chromosome segregation, M. xanthus uses a parABS system, which is essential, and lack of ParB results in chromosome segregation defects as well as cell divisions over nucleoids and the formation of anucleate cells. From the determination of the dynamic subcellular location of six genetic loci, we conclude that in newborn cells ori, as monitored following the ParB/parS complex, and ter regions are localized in the subpolar regions of the old and new cell pole, respectively and each separated from the nearest pole by approximately 1 µm. The bulk of the chromosome is arranged between the two subpolar regions, thus leaving the two large subpolar regions devoid of DNA. Upon replication, one ori region remains in the original subpolar region while the second copy segregates unidirectionally to the opposite subpolar region followed by the rest of the chromosome. In parallel, the ter region of the mother chromosome relocates, most likely passively, to midcell, where it is replicated. Consequently, after completion of replication and segregation, the two chromosomes show an ori-ter-ter-ori arrangement with mirror symmetry about a transverse axis at midcell. Upon completion of segregation of the ParB/parS complex, ParA localizes in large patches in the DNA-free subpolar regions. Using an Ssb-YFP fusion as a proxy for replisome localization, we observed that the two replisomes track independently of each other from a subpolar region towards ter. We conclude that M. xanthus chromosome arrangement and dynamics combine features from previously described systems with new features leading to a novel spatiotemporal arrangement pattern.
Author Summary
Work on several model organisms has revealed that bacterial chromosomes are spatially highly arranged throughout the cell cycle in a dynamic yet reproducible manner. These analyses have also demonstrated significant differences between chromosome arrangements and dynamics in different bacterial species. Here, we show that the Myxococcus xanthus genome is arranged about a longitudinal axis with ori in a subpolar region and ter in the opposite subpolar region. Upon replication, one ori remains at the original subpolar region while the second copy in a directed and parABS-dependent manner segregates to the opposite subpolar region followed by the rest of the chromosome. In parallel, ter relocates from a subpolar region to midcell. Replication involves replisomes that track independently of each other from the ori-containing subpolar region towards ter. Moreover, we find that the parABS system is essential in M. xanthus and ParB depletion not only results in chromosome segregation defects but also in cell division defects with cell divisions occurring over nucleoids. In M. xanthus the dynamics of chromosome replication and segregation combine features from previously described systems leading to a novel spatiotemporal arrangement pattern.
PMCID: PMC3778016  PMID: 24068967
5.  MukB colocalizes with the oriC region and is required for organization of the two Escherichia coli chromosome arms into separate cell halves 
Molecular Microbiology  2007;65(6):1485-1492.
The circular Escherichia coli chromosome is organized by bidirectional replication into two equal left and right arms (replichores). Each arm occupies a separate cell half, with the origin of replication (oriC) at mid-cell. E. coli MukBEF belongs to the ubiquitous family of SMC protein complexes that play key roles in chromosome organization and processing. In mukBEF mutants, viability is restricted to low temperature with production of anucleate cells, reflecting chromosome segregation defects. We show that in mukB mutant cells, the two chromosome arms do not separate into distinct cell halves, but extend from pole to pole with the oriC region located at the old pole. Mutations in topA, encoding topoisomerase I, do not suppress the aberrant positioning of chromosomal loci in mukB cells, despite suppressing the temperature-sensitivity and production of anucleate cells. Furthermore, we show that MukB and the oriC region generally colocalize throughout the cell cycle, even when oriC localization is aberrant. We propose that MukBEF initiates the normal bidirectional organization of the chromosome from the oriC region.
PMCID: PMC2169520  PMID: 17824928
6.  Regulation of Sister Chromosome Cohesion by the Replication Fork Tracking Protein SeqA 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(8):e1003673.
Analogously to chromosome cohesion in eukaryotes, newly replicated DNA in E. coli is held together by inter-sister linkages before partitioning into daughter nucleoids. In both cases, initial joining is apparently mediated by DNA catenation, in which replication-induced positive supercoils diffuse behind the fork, causing newly replicated duplexes to twist around each other. Type-II topoisomerase-catalyzed sister separation is delayed by the well-characterized cohesin complex in eukaryotes, but cohesion control in E. coli is not currently understood. We report that the abundant fork tracking protein SeqA is a strong positive regulator of cohesion, and is responsible for markedly prolonged cohesion observed at “snap” loci. Epistasis analysis suggests that SeqA stabilizes cohesion by antagonizing Topo IV-mediated sister resolution, and possibly also by a direct bridging mechanism. We show that variable cohesion observed along the E. coli chromosome is caused by differential SeqA binding, with oriC and snap loci binding disproportionally more SeqA. We propose that SeqA binding results in loose inter-duplex junctions that are resistant to Topo IV cleavage. Lastly, reducing cohesion by genetic manipulation of Topo IV or SeqA resulted in dramatically slowed sister locus separation and poor nucleoid partitioning, indicating that cohesion has a prominent role in chromosome segregation.
Author Summary
Sister chromosome cohesion in eukaryotes maintains genome stability by mediating chromosome segregation and homologous recombination-dependent DNA repair. Here we have investigated the mechanism of cohesion regulation in E. coli by measuring cohesion timing in a broad set of candidate mutant strains. Using a sensitive DNA replication and segregation assay, we show that cohesion is controlled by the conserved DNA decatenation enzyme Topo IV and the abundant DNA binding protein SeqA. Results suggest that cohesion occurs in E. coli by twisting of replicated duplexes around each other behind the replication fork, and immediate resolution of cohered regions is blocked by SeqA. SeqA binds to a sliding 300–400 kb window of hemimethylated DNA behind the fork, and regions binding more SeqA experience longer cohesion periods. An analogous decatenation inhibition function is carried out by the cohesin complex in eukaryotes, indicating that cells mediate pairing and separation of replicated DNA by a conserved mechanism. In both cases, mismanaged cohesion results in failed or inefficient chromosome segregation.
PMCID: PMC3749930  PMID: 23990792
7.  The SMC Complex MukBEF Recruits Topoisomerase IV to the Origin of Replication Region in Live Escherichia coli 
mBio  2014;5(1):e01001-13.
The Escherichia coli structural maintenance of chromosome (SMC) complex, MukBEF, and topoisomerase IV (TopoIV) interact in vitro through a direct contact between the MukB dimerization hinge and the C-terminal domain of ParC, the catalytic subunit of TopoIV. The interaction stimulates catalysis by TopoIV in vitro. Using live-cell quantitative imaging, we show that MukBEF directs TopoIV to ori, with fluorescent fusions of ParC and ParE both forming cellular foci that colocalize with those formed by MukBEF throughout the cell cycle and in cells unable to initiate DNA replication. Removal of MukBEF leads to loss of fluorescent ParC/ParE foci. In the absence of functional TopoIV, MukBEF forms multiple foci that are distributed uniformly throughout the nucleoid, whereas multiple catenated oris cluster at midcell. Once functional TopoIV is restored, the decatenated oris segregate to positions that are largely coincident with the MukBEF foci, thereby providing support for a mechanism by which MukBEF acts in chromosome segregation by positioning newly replicated and decatenated oris. Additional evidence for such a mechanism comes from the observation that in TopoIV-positive (TopoIV+) cells, newly replicated oris segregate rapidly to the positions of MukBEF foci. Taken together, the data implicate MukBEF as a key component of the DNA segregation process by acting in concert with TopoIV to promote decatenation and positioning of newly replicated oris.
Mechanistic understanding of how newly replicated bacterial chromosomes are segregated prior to cell division is incomplete. In this work, we provide in vivo experimental support for the view that topoisomerase IV (TopoIV), which decatenates newly replicated sister duplexes as a prelude to successful segregation, is directed to the replication origin region of the Escherichia coli chromosome by the SMC (structural maintenance of chromosome) complex, MukBEF. We provide in vivo data that support the demonstration in vitro that the MukB interaction with TopoIV stimulates catalysis by TopoIV. Finally, we show that MukBEF directs the normal positioning of sister origins after their replication and during their segregation. Overall, the data support models in which the coordinate and sequential action of TopoIV and MukBEF plays an important role during bacterial chromosome segregation.
PMCID: PMC3950513  PMID: 24520061
8.  Evidence for Divisome Localization Mechanisms Independent of the Min System and SlmA in Escherichia coli 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(8):e1004504.
Cell division in Escherichia coli starts with assembly of FtsZ protofilaments into a ring-like structure, the Z-ring. Positioning of the Z-ring at midcell is thought to be coordinated by two regulatory systems, nucleoid occlusion and the Min system. In E. coli, nucleoid occlusion is mediated by the SlmA proteins. Here, we address the question of whether there are additional positioning systems that are capable of localizing the E. coli divisome with respect to the cell center. Using quantitative fluorescence imaging we show that slow growing cells lacking functional Min and SlmA nucleoid occlusion systems continue to divide preferentially at midcell. We find that the initial Z-ring assembly occurs over the center of the nucleoid instead of nucleoid-free regions under these conditions. We determine that Z-ring formation begins shortly after the arrival of the Ter macrodomain at the nucleoid center. Removal of either the MatP, ZapB, or ZapA proteins significantly affects the accuracy and precision of Z-ring positioning relative to the nucleoid center in these cells in accordance with the idea that these proteins link the Ter macrodomain and the Z-ring. Interestingly, even in the absence of Min, SlmA, and the putative Ter macrodomain – Z-ring link, there remains a weak midcell positioning bias for the Z-ring. Our work demonstrates that additional Z-ring localization systems are present in E. coli than are known currently. In particular, we identify that the Ter macrodomain acts as a landmark for the Z-ring in the presence of MatP, ZapB and ZapA proteins.
Author Summary
Cell division in Escherichia coli begins with the assembly of FtsZ proteins into a ring-like structure, the Z-ring. Remarkably, the Z-ring localizes with very high precision at midcell. Currently, two molecular systems, nucleoid occlusion and the Min system, are known to localize the Z-ring. Here, we explore whether there are additional divisome localization systems in E. coli. Using quantitative fluorescence imaging, we show that slow growing cells lacking both known positioning systems continue to divide accurately at midcell. We find that the terminus region of the chromosome moves first to mid-cell where it functions as a positional landmark for the subsequent localization of the Z-ring. Furthermore, we provide evidence that this divisome positioning system involves MatP, ZapB, and ZapA proteins. Our work shows that E. coli can divide without the canonical mechanisms for localizing its cytokinetic ring. In particular, we identify that the Ter macrodomain acts as a landmark for the Z-ring in the presence of MatP, ZapB and ZapA proteins.
PMCID: PMC4125044  PMID: 25101671
9.  Intracellular Locations of Replication Proteins and the Origin of Replication during Chromosome Duplication in the Slowly Growing Human Pathogen Helicobacter pylori 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(5):999-1011.
We followed the position of the replication complex in the pathogenic bacterium Helicobacter pylori using antibodies raised against the single-stranded DNA binding protein (HpSSB) and the replicative helicase (HpDnaB). The position of the replication origin, oriC, was also localized in growing cells by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with fluorescence-labeled DNA sequences adjacent to the origin. The replisome assembled at oriC near one of the cell poles, and the two forks moved together toward the cell center as replication progressed in the growing cell. Termination and resolution of the forks occurred near midcell, on one side of the septal membrane. The duplicated copies of oriC did not separate until late in elongation, when the daughter chromosomes segregated into bilobed nucleoids, suggesting sister chromatid cohesion at or near the oriC region. Components of the replication machinery, viz., HpDnaB and HpDnaG (DNA primase), were found associated with the cell membrane. A model for the assembly and location of the H. pylori replication machinery during chromosomal duplication is presented.
PMCID: PMC3957694  PMID: 24363345
10.  Long-Range Chromosome Organization in E. coli: A Site-Specific System Isolates the Ter Macrodomain 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(4):e1002672.
The organization of the Escherichia coli chromosome into a ring composed of four macrodomains and two less-structured regions influences the segregation of sister chromatids and the mobility of chromosomal DNA. The structuring of the terminus region (Ter) into a macrodomain relies on the interaction of the protein MatP with a 13-bp target called matS repeated 23 times in the 800-kb-long domain. Here, by using a new method that allows the transposition of any chromosomal segment at a defined position on the genetic map, we reveal a site-specific system that restricts to the Ter region a constraining process that reduces DNA mobility and delays loci segregation. Remarkably, the constraining process is regulated during the cell cycle and occurs only when the Ter MD is associated with the division machinery at mid-cell. The change of DNA properties does not rely on the presence of a trans-acting mechanism but rather involves a cis-effect acting at a long distance from the Ter region. Two specific 12-bp sequences located in the flanking Left and Right macrodomains and a newly identified protein designated YfbV conserved with MatP through evolution are required to impede the spreading of the constraining process to the rest of the chromosome. Our results unravel a site-specific system required to restrict to the Ter region the consequences of anchoring the Ter MD to the division machinery.
Author Summary
The large size of genomes compared to cell dimensions imposes an extensive compaction of chromosomes compatible with various processes of DNA metabolism, such as gene expression or segregation of the genetic information. Most bacterial genomes are circular molecules, and DNA replication proceeds bidirectionally from a single origin to an opposite region where replication forks meet. In the bacteria Escherichia coli, the long-range organization of the chromosome relies on the presence of mechanisms that structure large regions called macrodomains. The macrodomain containing the terminus of replication is structured by a specific organization system involving the binding of the protein MatP to 23 matS sites scattered over the 800-kb-long Ter region. In this report, we describe a site-specific insulation system that restricts to the Ter region the consequences of the mechanism structuring the Ter macrodomain. We identified two 12-bp sequences flanking the Ter macrodomain and one protein that are required to isolate the Ter region from the other parts of the chromosome.
PMCID: PMC3330122  PMID: 22532809
11.  Hyperrecombination in the terminus region of the Escherichia coli chromosome: possible relation to nucleoid organization. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1994;176(24):7524-7531.
The terminus region of the Escherichia coli chromosome is the scene of frequent homologous recombination. This can be demonstrated by formation of deletions between directly repeated sequences which flank a genetic marker whose loss can be easily detected. We report here that terminal recombination events are restricted to a relatively large terminal recombination zone (TRZ). On one side of the TRZ, the transition from the region with a high excision rate to the normal (low) excision rates of the rest of the chromosome occurs along a DNA stretch of less than 1 min. No specific border of this domain has been defined. To identify factors inducing terminal recombination, we examined its relation to two other phenomena affecting the same region, site-specific recombination at the dif locus and site-specific replication pausing. Both the location and the efficiency of terminal recombination remained unchanged after inactivation of the dif-specific recombination system. Similarly, inactivation of site-specific replication pausing or displacement of the replication fork trap so that termination occurs about 200 kb away from the normal region had no clear effect on this phenomenon. Therefore, terminal recombination is not a direct consequence of either dif-specific recombination or replication termination. Furthermore, deletions encompassing the wild-type TRZ do not eliminate hyperrecombination. Terminal recombination therefore cannot be attributed to the activity of some unique sequence of the region. A possible explanation of terminal hyperrecombination involves nucleoid organization and its remodeling after replication: we propose that post replicative reconstruction of the nucleoid organization results in a displacement of the catenation links between sister chromosomes to the last chromosomal domain to be rebuilt. Unrelated to replication termination, this process would facilitate interactions between the catenated molecules and would make the domain highly susceptible to recombination between sister chromosomes.
PMCID: PMC197209  PMID: 8002576
12.  The Two Cis-Acting Sites, parS1 and oriC1, Contribute to the Longitudinal Organisation of Vibrio cholerae Chromosome I 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(7):e1004448.
The segregation of bacterial chromosomes follows a precise choreography of spatial organisation. It is initiated by the bipolar migration of the sister copies of the replication origin (ori). Most bacterial chromosomes contain a partition system (Par) with parS sites in close proximity to ori that contribute to the active mobilisation of the ori region towards the old pole. This is thought to result in a longitudinal chromosomal arrangement within the cell. In this study, we followed the duplication frequency and the cellular position of 19 Vibrio cholerae genome loci as a function of cell length. The genome of V. cholerae is divided between two chromosomes, chromosome I and II, which both contain a Par system. The ori region of chromosome I (oriI) is tethered to the old pole, whereas the ori region of chromosome II is found at midcell. Nevertheless, we found that both chromosomes adopted a longitudinal organisation. Chromosome I extended over the entire cell while chromosome II extended over the younger cell half. We further demonstrate that displacing parS sites away from the oriI region rotates the bulk of chromosome I. The only exception was the region where replication terminates, which still localised to the septum. However, the longitudinal arrangement of chromosome I persisted in Par mutants and, as was reported earlier, the ori region still localised towards the old pole. Finally, we show that the Par-independent longitudinal organisation and oriI polarity were perturbed by the introduction of a second origin. Taken together, these results suggest that the Par system is the major contributor to the longitudinal organisation of chromosome I but that the replication program also influences the arrangement of bacterial chromosomes.
PMCID: PMC4091711  PMID: 25010199
13.  Dynamic Distribution of SeqA Protein across the Chromosome of Escherichia coli K-12 
mBio  2010;1(1):e00012-10.
The bacterial SeqA protein binds to hemi-methylated GATC sequences that arise in newly synthesized DNA upon passage of the replication machinery. In Escherichia coli K-12, the single replication origin oriC is a well-characterized target for SeqA, which binds to multiple hemi-methylated GATC sequences immediately after replication has initiated. This sequesters oriC, thereby preventing reinitiation of replication. However, the genome-wide DNA binding properties of SeqA are unknown, and hence, here, we describe a study of the binding of SeqA across the entire Escherichia coli K-12 chromosome, using chromatin immunoprecipitation in combination with DNA microarrays. Our data show that SeqA binding correlates with the frequency and spacing of GATC sequences across the entire genome. Less SeqA is found in highly transcribed regions, as well as in the ter macrodomain. Using synchronized cultures, we show that SeqA distribution differs with the cell cycle. SeqA remains bound to some targets after replication has ceased, and these targets locate to genes encoding factors involved in nucleotide metabolism, chromosome replication, and methyl transfer.
DNA replication in bacteria is a highly regulated process. In many bacteria, a protein called SeqA plays a key role by binding to newly replicated DNA. Thus, at the origin of DNA replication, SeqA binding blocks premature reinitiation of replication rounds. Although most investigators have focused on the role of SeqA at replication origins, it has long been suspected that SeqA has a more pervasive role. In this study, we describe how we have been able to identify scores of targets, across the entire Escherichia coli chromosome, to which SeqA binds. Using synchronously growing cells, we show that the distribution of SeqA between these targets alters as replication of the chromosome progresses. This suggests that sequential changes in SeqA distribution orchestrate a program of gene expression that ensures coordinated DNA replication and cell division.
PMCID: PMC2912659  PMID: 20689753
14.  Differential Effects of Myeloperoxidase-Derived Oxidants on Escherichia coli DNA Replication 
Infection and Immunity  1998;66(6):2655-2659.
The microbicidal myeloperoxidase (MPO)-H2O2-chloride system strongly inhibits Escherichia coli DNA synthesis. Also, cell envelopes from MPO-treated E. coli cells lose their ability to interact with hemimethylated DNA sequences of oriC, the chromosomal origin of replication, raising the prospect that suppression of DNA synthesis involves impairment of oriC-related functions (H. Rosen, et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 87:10048–10052, 1990). To evaluate whether origin-specific DNA sequences play a role in the MPO effect on E. coli DNA synthesis, plasmid DNA replication was compared to total (chromosomal) DNA replication for six plasmids with three distinct origins of replication. Plasmid pCM700 replication, replicating from oriC, was as sensitive to MPO-mediated inhibition as was total (chromosomal) DNA replication. A regression line describing this relationship had a slope of 0.90, and the r2 was 0.89. In contrast, the replication activities of three of four non-oriC plasmids, pUC19, pACYC184, and pSC101, demonstrated significant early resistance to inhibition by MPO-derived oxidants. The exception to this resistance pattern was plasmid pSP102, which has an origin derived from P1 phage. pSP102 replication declined similarly to that of total DNA synthesis. The regression line for pSP102 replication versus total DNA synthesis had a slope of 0.95, and the r2 was 0.92. The biochemical requirements for P1-mediated replication are strikingly similar to those for oriC-mediated replication. It is proposed that one of these requirements, common to oriC and the P1 origin but not critical to the replication of the other non-oriC plasmids, is an important target for MPO-mediated oxidations that mediate the initial decline in E. coli chromosomal DNA synthesis.
PMCID: PMC108252  PMID: 9596730
15.  Chromosome and Replisome Dynamics in E. coli: Loss of Sister Cohesion Triggers Global Chromosome Movement and Mediates Chromosome Segregation 
Cell  2005;121(6):899-911.
Chromosome and replisome dynamics were examined in synchronized E. coli cells undergoing a eukaryotic-like cell cycle. Sister chromosomes remain tightly colocalized for much of S phase and then separate, in a single coordinate transition. Origin and terminus regions behave differently, as functionally independent domains. During separation, sister loci move far apart and the nucleoid becomes bilobed. Origins and terminus regions also move. We infer that sisters are initially linked and that loss of cohesion triggers global chromosome reorganization. This reorganization creates the 2-fold symmetric, ter-in/ori-out conformation which, for E. coli, comprises sister segregation. Analogies with eukaryotic prometaphase suggest that this could be a primordial segregation mechanism to which microtubule-based processes were later added. We see no long-lived replication “factory”; replication initiation timing does not covary with cell mass, and we identify changes in nucleoid position and state that are tightly linked to cell division. We propose that cell division licenses the next round of replication initiation via these changes.
PMCID: PMC2973560  PMID: 15960977
16.  Effects of quinolones on nucleoid segregation in Escherichia coli. 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  1991;35(12):2645-2648.
The effects of quinolone antibiotics on nucleoid segregation in growing Escherichia coli were examined by using fleroxacin (Ro 23-6240, AM 833) as a prototype compound. At levels that were close to its MIC and induced growth arrest and filamentation, fleroxacin caused large nucleoids to appear in midcell, suggesting inhibition of nucleoid segregation. With increasing fleroxacin concentrations, nucleoids became progressively smaller, suggesting inhibition of DNA replication. Removal of fleroxacin restored normal cell and nucleoid morphology in filaments with large nucleoids but not in filaments with small nucleoids. The results are consistent with inhibition of chromosome decatenation at low quinolone concentrations (bacteriostatic effect) and DNA supercoiling at high concentrations (bactericidal effect).
PMCID: PMC245448  PMID: 1810201
17.  RecA-Mediated Rescue of Escherichia coli Strains with Replication Forks Arrested at the Terminus 
Journal of Bacteriology  2001;183(20):6065-6073.
The recombinational rescue of chromosome replication was investigated in Escherichia coli strains with the unidirectional origin oriR1, from the plasmid R1, integrated within oriC in clockwise (intR1CW) or counterclockwise (intR1CC) orientations. Only the intR1CC strain, with replication forks arrested at the terminus, required RecA for survival. Unlike the strains with RecA-dependent replication known so far, the intR1CC strain did not require RecBCD, RecF, RecG, RecJ, RuvAB, or SOS activation for viability. The overall levels of degradation of replicating chromosomes caused by inactivation of RecA were similar in oriC and intR1CC strains. In the intR1CC strain, RecA was also needed to maintain the integrity of the chromosome when the unidirectional replication forks were blocked at the terminus. This was consistent with suppression of the RecA dependence of the intR1CC strain by inactivating Tus, the protein needed to block replication forks at Ter sites. Thus, RecA is essential during asymmetric chromosome replication for the stable maintenance of the forks arrested at the terminus and for their eventual passage across the termination barrier(s) independently of the SOS and some of the major recombination pathways.
PMCID: PMC99686  PMID: 11567007
18.  Diversity of Genome Structure in Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhi Populations†  
Journal of Bacteriology  2005;187(8):2638-2650.
The genomes of most strains of Salmonella and Escherichia coli are highly conserved. In contrast, all 136 wild-type strains of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi analyzed by partial digestion with I-CeuI (an endonuclease which cuts within the rrn operons) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and by PCR have rearrangements due to homologous recombination between the rrn operons leading to inversions and translocations. Recombination between rrn operons in culture is known to be equally frequent in S. enterica serovar Typhi and S. enterica serovar Typhimurium; thus, the recombinants in S. enterica serovar Typhi, but not those in S. enterica serovar Typhimurium, are able to survive in nature. However, even in S. enterica serovar Typhi the need for genome balance and the need for gene dosage impose limits on rearrangements. Of 100 strains of genome types 1 to 6, 72 were only 25.5 kb off genome balance (the relative lengths of the replichores during bidirectional replication from oriC to the termination of replication [Ter]), while 28 strains were less balanced (41 kb off balance), indicating that the survival of the best-balanced strains was greater. In addition, the need for appropriate gene dosage apparently selected against rearrangements which moved genes from their accustomed distance from oriC. Although rearrangements involving the seven rrn operons are very common in S. enterica serovar Typhi, other duplicated regions, such as the 25 IS200 elements, are very rarely involved in rearrangements. Large deletions and insertions in the genome are uncommon, except for deletions of Salmonella pathogenicity island 7 (usually 134 kb) from fragment I-CeuI-G and 40-kb insertions, possibly a prophage, in fragment I-CeuI-E. The phage types were determined, and the origins of the phage types appeared to be independent of the origins of the genome types.
PMCID: PMC1070368  PMID: 15805510
19.  Differential Management of the Replication Terminus Regions of the Two Vibrio cholerae Chromosomes during Cell Division 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(9):e1004557.
The replication terminus region (Ter) of the unique chromosome of most bacteria locates at mid-cell at the time of cell division. In several species, this localization participates in the necessary coordination between chromosome segregation and cell division, notably for the selection of the division site, the licensing of the division machinery assembly and the correct alignment of chromosome dimer resolution sites. The genome of Vibrio cholerae, the agent of the deadly human disease cholera, is divided into two chromosomes, chrI and chrII. Previous fluorescent microscopy observations suggested that although the Ter regions of chrI and chrII replicate at the same time, chrII sister termini separated before cell division whereas chrI sister termini were maintained together at mid-cell, which raised questions on the management of the two chromosomes during cell division. Here, we simultaneously visualized the location of the dimer resolution locus of each of the two chromosomes. Our results confirm the late and early separation of chrI and chrII Ter sisters, respectively. They further suggest that the MatP/matS macrodomain organization system specifically delays chrI Ter sister separation. However, TerI loci remain in the vicinity of the cell centre in the absence of MatP and a genetic assay specifically designed to monitor the relative frequency of sister chromatid contacts during constriction suggest that they keep colliding together until the very end of cell division. In contrast, we found that even though it is not able to impede the separation of chrII Ter sisters before septation, the MatP/matS macrodomain organization system restricts their movement within the cell and permits their frequent interaction during septum constriction.
Author Summary
The genome of Vibrio cholerae is divided into two circular chromosomes, chrI and chrII. ChrII is derived from a horizontally acquired mega-plasmid, which raised questions on the necessary coordination of the processes that ensure its segregation with the cell division cycle. Here, we show that the MatP/matS macrodomain organization system impedes the separation of sister copies of the terminus region of chrI before the initiation of septum constriction. In its absence, however, chrI sister termini remain sufficiently close to mid-cell to be processed by the FtsK cell division translocase. In contrast, we show that MatP cannot impede the separation of chrII sister termini before constriction. However, it restricts their movements within the cell, which allows for their processing by FtsK at the time of cell division. These results suggest that multiple redundant factors, including MatP in the enterobacteriaceae and the Vibrios, ensure that sister copies of the terminus region of bacterial chromosomes remain sufficiently close to mid-cell to be processed by FtsK.
PMCID: PMC4177673  PMID: 25255436
20.  Escherichia coli SeqA Structures Relocalize Abruptly upon Termination of Origin Sequestration during Multifork DNA Replication 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110575.
The Escherichia coli SeqA protein forms complexes with new, hemimethylated DNA behind replication forks and is important for successful replication during rapid growth. Here, E. coli cells with two simultaneously replicating chromosomes (multifork DNA replication) and YFP tagged SeqA protein was studied. Fluorescence microscopy showed that in the beginning of the cell cycle cells contained a single focus at midcell. The focus was found to remain relatively immobile at midcell for a period of time equivalent to the duration of origin sequestration. Then, two abrupt relocalization events occurred within 2–6 minutes and resulted in SeqA foci localized at each of the cell’s quarter positions. Imaging of cells containing an additional fluorescent tag in the origin region showed that SeqA colocalizes with the origin region during sequestration. This indicates that the newly replicated DNA of first one chromosome, and then the other, is moved from midcell to the quarter positions. At the same time, origins are released from sequestration. Our results illustrate that newly replicated sister DNA is segregated pairwise to the new locations. This mode of segregation is in principle different from that of slowly growing bacteria where the newly replicated sister DNA is partitioned to separate cell halves and the decatenation of sisters a prerequisite for, and possibly a mechanistic part of, segregation.
PMCID: PMC4204900  PMID: 25333813
21.  Effects of the Chromosome Partitioning Protein Spo0J (ParB) on oriC Positioning and Replication Initiation in Bacillus subtilis 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(4):1326-1337.
Spo0J (ParB) of Bacillus subtilis is a DNA-binding protein that belongs to a conserved family of proteins required for efficient plasmid and chromosome partitioning in many bacterial species. We found that Spo0J contributes to the positioning of the chromosomal oriC region, but probably not by recruiting the origin regions to specific subcellular locations. In wild-type cells during exponential growth, duplicated origin regions were generally positioned around the cell quarters. In a spo0J null mutant, sister origin regions were often closer together, nearer to midcell. We found, by using a Spo0J-green fluorescent protein [GFP] fusion, that the subcellular location of Spo0J was a consequence of the chromosomal positions of the Spo0J binding sites. When an array of binding sites (parS sites) were inserted at various chromosomal locations in the absence of six of the eight known parS sites, Spo0J-GFP was no longer found predominantly at the cell quarters, indicating that Spo0J is not sufficient to recruit chromosomal parS sites to the cell quarters. spo0J also affected chromosome positioning during sporulation. A spo0J null mutant showed an increase in the number of cells with some origin-distal regions located in the forespore. In addition, a spo0J null mutation caused an increase in the number of foci per cell of LacI-GFP bound to arrays of lac operators inserted in various positions in the chromosome, including the origin region, an increase in the DNA-protein ratio, and an increase in origins per cell, as determined by flow cytometry. These results indicate that the spo0J mutant produced a significant proportion of cells with increased chromosome content, probably due to increased and asynchronous initiation of DNA replication.
PMCID: PMC142880  PMID: 12562803
22.  Independent Positioning and Action of Escherichia coli Replisomes in Live Cells 
Cell  2008;133(1):90-102.
A prevalent view of DNA replication has been that it is carried out in fixed “replication factories.” By tracking the progression of sister replication forks with respect to genetic loci in live Escherichia coli, we show that at initiation replisomes assemble at replication origins irrespective of where the origins are positioned within the cell. Sister replisomes separate and move to opposite cell halves shortly after initiation, migrating outwards as replication proceeds and both returning to midcell as replication termination approaches. DNA polymerase is maintained at stalled replication forks, and over short intervals of time replisomes are more dynamic than genetic loci. The data are inconsistent with models in which replisomes associated with sister forks act within a fixed replication factory. We conclude that independent replication forks follow the path of the compacted chromosomal DNA, with no structure other than DNA anchoring the replisome to any particular cellular region.
PMCID: PMC2288635  PMID: 18394992
23.  Replication of the Escherichia coli chromosome in RNase HI-deficient cells: Multiple initiation regions and fork dynamics 
Molecular microbiology  2013;91(1):39-56.
DNA replication in Escherichia coli is normally initiated at a single origin, oriC, dependent on initiation protein DnaA. However, replication can be initiated elsewhere on the chromosome at multiple ectopic oriK sites. Genetic evidence indicates that initiation from oriK depends on RNA-DNA hybrids (R-loops), which are normally removed by enzymes such as RNase HI to prevent oriK from misfiring during normal growth. Initiation from oriK sites occurs in RNase HI-deficient mutants, and possibly in wild-type cells under certain unusual conditions. Despite previous work, the locations of oriK and their impact on genome stability remain unclear. We combined 2D gel electrophoresis and whole genome approaches to map genome-wide oriK locations. The DNA copy number profiles of various RNase HI-deficient strains contained multiple peaks, often in consistent locations, identifying candidate oriK sites. Removal of RNase HI protein also leads to global alterations of replication fork migration patterns, often opposite to normal replication directions, and presumably eukaryote-like replication fork merging. Our results have implications for genome stability, offering a new understanding of how RNase HI deficiency results in R-loop-mediated transcription-replication conflict, as well as inappropriate replication stalling or blockage at Ter sites outside of the terminus trap region and at ribosomal operons.
PMCID: PMC3926323  PMID: 24164596
24.  Effects of Perturbing Nucleoid Structure on Nucleoid Occlusion-Mediated Toporegulation of FtsZ Ring Assembly 
Journal of Bacteriology  2004;186(12):3951-3959.
In Escherichia coli, assembly of the FtsZ ring (Z ring) at the cell division site is negatively regulated by the nucleoid in a phenomenon called nucleoid occlusion (NO). Previous studies have indicated that chromosome packing plays a role in NO, as mukB mutants grown in rich medium often exhibit FtsZ rings on top of diffuse, unsegregated nucleoids. To address the potential role of overall nucleoid structure on NO, we investigated the effects of disrupting chromosome structure on Z-ring positioning. We found that NO was mostly normal in cells with inactivated DNA gyrase or in mukB-null mutants lacking topA, although some suppression of NO was evident in the latter case. Previous reports suggesting that transcription, translation, and membrane insertion of proteins (“transertion”) influence nucleoid structure prompted us to investigate whether disruption of these activities had effects on NO. Blocking transcription caused nucleoids to become diffuse, and FtsZ relocalized to multiple bands on top of these nucleoids, biased towards midcell. This suggested that these diffuse nucleoids were defective in NO. Blocking translation with chloramphenicol caused characteristic nucleoid compaction, but FtsZ rarely assembled on top of these centrally positioned nucleoids. This suggested that NO remained active upon translation inhibition. Blocking protein secretion by thermoinduction of a secA(Ts) strain caused a chromosome segregation defect similar to that in parC mutants, and NO was active. Although indirect effects are certainly possible with these experiments, the above data suggest that optimum NO activity may require specific organization and structure of the nucleoid.
PMCID: PMC419936  PMID: 15175309
25.  DNA replication termination in Escherichia coli parB (a dnaG allele), parA, and gyrB mutants affected in DNA distribution. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1986;168(2):494-504.
We investigated the Escherichia coli mutants carrying the parB, parA, and gyrB mutations, all of which display faulty chromosome partitioning at the nonpermissive temperature, to see whether their phenotype reflected a defect in the termination of DNA replication. In the parB strain DNA synthesis slowed down at 42 degrees C and the SOS response was induced, whereas in the parA strain DNA synthesis continued normally for 120 min and there was no SOS induction. To see whether replication forks accumulated in the vicinity of terC at the nonpermissive temperature, the mutants were incubated for 60 min at 42 degrees C and then returned to low temperature and pulse-labeled with [3H]thymidine. In all cases the restriction pattern of the labeled DNA was incompatible with that of the terC region, suggesting that replication termination was normal. In the parA mutant no DNA sequences were preferentially labeled, whereas in the parB and gyrB strains there was specific labeling of sequences whose restriction pattern resembled that of oriC. In the case of parB this was confirmed by DNA-DNA hybridization with appropriate probes. This test further revealed that the parB mutant over initiates at oriC after the return to the permissive temperature. Like dna(Ts) strains, the parB mutant formed filaments at 42 degrees C in the absence of SOS-associated division inhibition, accompanied by the appearance of anucleate cells of nearly normal size (28% of the population after 3 h), as revealed by autoradiography. The DNA in the filaments was either centrally located or distributed throughout. The parB mutation lies at 67 min, and the ParB- phenotype is corrected by a cloned dnaG gene or by a plasmid primase, strongly suggesting that parB is an allele of dnaG, the structural gene of the E. coli primase. It is thus likely that the parB mutant possesses an altered primase which does not affect replication termination but causes a partial defect in replication initiation and elongation and in chromosome distribution.
PMCID: PMC213509  PMID: 3536848

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