Human transcription factor Sp1 contains three contiguous repeats of the C2H2-type zinc finger motif and binds to the decanucleotide sequence 5′-(G/T)GGGCGG(G/A)(G/A)(C/T)-3′ (GC box). In order to determine whether the three-zinc finger peptide Sp1(530–623) has selectivity for sequence outside the GC box, we used a selection and amplification of binding experiment. The high affinity sequence generated from this selection is 5′-GGGTGGGCGTGGC-3′ (s-GC box), which is flanked by a novel conserved guanine triplet on the 5′-side of the core decanucleotide. Gel mobility shift assays reveal that Sp1(530–623) binds to the s-GC box with 2.3-fold higher affinity than to the wild-type GC box, 5′-GGGGCGGGGC-3′ (c-GC box). DNase I and hydroxyl radical footprinting analyses show that the area of the s-GC box protected by binding of Sp1(530–623) is wider by 1 nt than that of the c-GC box. On the other hand, alkylation interference analyses demonstrate that Sp1(530–623) forms only one special base contact at the guanine triplet. With respect to cleavage of the c-GC and s-GC boxes by the 1,10-phenanthroline–copper complex (OP-Cu), binding of Sp1(530–623) has no effect on the cleavage pattern of the s-GC box, whereas OP-Cu actually enhances cleavage of the c-GC box. Additionally, the extent of cleavage of the s-GC box by DNase I and OP-Cu is clearly different from that of the c-GC box under peptide-free conditions. The results strongly indicate that: (i) the conformation of the s-GC box is evidently distinct from that of the c-GC box; (ii) Sp1(530–623) binds to the s-GC box without induction of a conformational change in DNA detectable by cleavage with OP-Cu. The present study provides useful information for the design of multi-zinc finger proteins with various sequence specificities.
Although transcription factors of the basic helix-loop-helix family have been shown to regulate enhancers of lymphomagenic gammaretroviruses through E-box motifs, the overlap of an E-box motif (Egre) with the glucocorticoid response element (GRE) has obscured their function in vivo. We report here that Egre, but not the GRE, affects disease induction by the murine T-lymphomagenic SL3-3 virus. Mutating all three copies of Egre prolonged the tumor latency period from 60 to 109 days. Further mutating an E-box motif (Ea/s) outside the enhancer prolonged the latency period to 180 days, suggesting that Ea/s works as a backup site for Egre. While wild-type SL3-3 and GRE and Ea/s mutants exclusively induced T-cell lymphomas with wild-type latencies mainly of the CD4+ CD8− phenotype, Egre as well as the Egre and Ea/s mutants induced B-cell lymphomas and myeloid leukemia in addition to T-cell lymphomas. T-cell lymphomas induced by the two Egre mutants had the same phenotype as those induced by wild-type SL3-3, indicating the incomplete disruption of T-cell lymphomagenesis, which is in contrast to previous findings for a Runx site mutant of SL3-3. Mutating the Egre site or Egre and Ea/s triggered several tumor phenotype-associated secondary enhancer changes encompassing neighboring sites, none of which led to the regeneration of an E-box motif. Taken together, our results demonstrate a role for the E-box but not the GRE in T lymphomagenesis by SL3-3, unveil an inherent broader disease specificity of the virus, and strengthen the notion of selection for more potent enhancer variants of mutated viruses during tumor development.
The general aim of this work is to measure brain potassium (K) levels as a marker of intracellular water content and to test the hypothesis of whether edema in multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with increased intracellular brain water. For that purpose, a system to measure K in brain is being developed. Our specific aim is to assess the potential contribution to the K photopeak from cranial K located outside the brain. For this, a simplified spherical phantom to represent the brain, a square box to represent the cranium, and a K point source to assess the contributions due to K outside the brain were used. It is estimated that only about 1–2% of the K photopeak might be attributable to K outside the brain.
Potassium; Brain; In vivo; Multiple sclerosis; Edema
In mitosis, the spindle checkpoint detects a single unattached kinetochore, inhibits the anaphase-promoting complex or cyclosome (APC/C), and prevents premature sister-chromatid separation. The checkpoint kinase Bub1 contributes to checkpoint sensitivity through phosphorylating the APC/C activator, Cdc20, and inhibiting APC/C catalytically. We report here the crystal structure of the kinase domain of Bub1, revealing the requirement of an N-terminal extension for its kinase activity. Though the activation segment of Bub1 is ordered and has structural features indicative of active kinases, the C-terminal portion of this segment sterically restricts substrate access to the active site. Bub1 uses docking motifs, so-called KEN boxes, outside its kinase domain to recruit Cdc20, one of two known KEN-box receptors. The KEN boxes of Bub1 are required for the spindle checkpoint in human cells. Therefore, its unusual active-site conformation and mode of substrate recruitment suggest that Bub1 has an exquisitely tuned specificity for Cdc20.
The root borer, Oryctes agamemnon Burmeister (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), has become a serious pest of date palm trees in southwest Tunisia. Under natural conditions, mated females lay eggs in different parts of palm tree: between the hairy roots, all along the stem at the leaf axils and at the base of cut branches. Larvae bore into targeted places of the plant and were never seen outside. Pupation takes place in the plant and emergence of the adults begins in June. Larval feeding causes extensive damage to the respiratory roots. To examine the life cycle more closely, the O. agamemnon life cycle was studied under laboratory conditions. Different larval stages were collected from infested oases in Tozeur and placed in plastic boxes with natural food that was collected from the oases. After emergence, adults were paired in opaque plastic boxes for mating with the same food substrate which also served as an oviposition site. Eggs were collected daily and isolated in new boxes. Hatched eggs were recorded. The number of larval instars was determined by measuring the width of cephalic capsules. Under laboratory conditions (23 ± 2'C and 55 ± 6% RH)embryogenesis took 14.3 ± 1.42 days and the first, second and third larval instars were 33.1 ± 2.69, 63.88 ± 6.6 and 118.3 ± 13.38 days respectively. The pupal period lasted 24.1 ± 3.02 days and the adult 65.27 ± 9.48 days. These facts indicated that O. agamemnon is univoltine.
The mosquito Aedes aegypti can spread the dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses. Thus, the search for key molecules involved in the mosquito survival represents today a promising vector control strategy. High Mobility Group Box (HMGB) proteins are essential nuclear factors that maintain the high-order structure of chromatin, keeping eukaryotic cells viable. Outside the nucleus, secreted HMGB proteins could alert the innate immune system to foreign antigens and trigger the initiation of host defenses. In this work, we cloned and functionally characterized the HMGB1 protein from Aedes aegypti (AaHMGB1). The AaHMGB1 protein typically consists of two HMG-box DNA binding domains and an acidic C-terminus. Interestingly, AaHMGB1 contains a unique alanine/glutamine-rich (AQ-rich) C-terminal region that seems to be exclusive of dipteran HMGB proteins. AaHMGB1 is localized to the cell nucleus, mainly associated with heterochromatin. Circular dichroism analyses of AaHMGB1 or the C-terminal truncated proteins revealed α-helical structures. We showed that AaHMGB1 can effectively bind and change the topology of DNA, and that the AQ-rich and the C-terminal acidic regions can modulate its ability to promote DNA supercoiling, as well as its preference to bind supercoiled DNA. AaHMGB1 is phosphorylated by PKA and PKC, but not by CK2. Importantly, phosphorylation of AaHMGB1 by PKA or PKC completely abolishes its DNA bending activity. Thus, our study shows that a functional HMGB1 protein occurs in Aedes aegypt and we provide the first description of a HMGB1 protein containing an AQ-rich regulatory C-terminus.
Attempts to estimate and identify factors influencing first-year survival in passerines, survival between fledging and the first reproductive attempt (i.e. juvenile survival), have largely been confounded by natal dispersal, particularly in long-distance migratory passerines. We studied Prothonotary Warblers (Protonotaria citrea) breeding in nest boxes to estimate first-year survival while accounting for biases related to dispersal that are common in mark-recapture studies. The natal dispersal distribution (median = 1420 m; n = 429) and a distance-dependent recruitment rate, which controls for effects of study site configuration, both indicated a pattern of short-distance natal dispersal. This pattern was consistent with results of a systematic survey for birds returning outside the nest box study sites (up to 30 km in all directions) within a majority (81%) of total available bottomland forest habitat, further suggesting that permanent emigration outside of the study system was rare. We used multistate mark-recapture modeling to estimate first-year survival and incorporated factors thought to influence survival while accounting for the potential confounding effects of dispersal on recapture probabilities for warblers that fledged during 2004–2009 (n = 6093). Overall, the average first-year survival for warblers reared without cowbird nestmates was 0.11 (95% CI = 0.09–0.13), decreased with fledging date (0.22 early to 0.03 late) and averaged 40% lower for warblers reared with a brood parasite nestmate. First-year survival was less than half of the rate thought to represent population replacement in migratory passerines (∼0.30). This very low rate suggests that surviving the first year of life for many Neotropical migratory species is even more difficult than previously thought, forcing us to rethink estimates used in population models.
DEAD box helicases are involved in nearly all aspects of RNA metabolism. They share a common helicase core, and may comprise additional domains that contribute to RNA binding. The Thermus thermophilus helicase Hera is the first dimeric DEAD box helicase. Crystal structures of Hera fragments reveal a bipartite C-terminal domain with a novel dimerization motif and an RNA-binding module. We provide a first glimpse on the additional RNA-binding module outside the Hera helicase core. The dimerization and RNA-binding domains are connected to the C-terminal RecA domain by a hinge region that confers exceptional flexibility onto the helicase, allowing for different juxtapositions of the RecA-domains in the dimer. Combination of the previously determined N-terminal Hera structure with the C-terminal Hera structures allows generation of a model for the entire Hera dimer, where two helicase cores can work in conjunction on large RNA substrates.
WRKY transcription factors have been shown to play a major role in regulating, both positively and negatively, the plant defense transcriptome. Nearly all studied WRKY factors appear to have a stereotypic binding preference to one DNA element termed the W-box. How specificity for certain promoters is accomplished therefore remains completely unknown. In this study, we tested five distinct Arabidopsis WRKY transcription factor subfamily members for their DNA binding selectivity towards variants of the W-box embedded in neighboring DNA sequences. These studies revealed for the first time differences in their binding site preferences, which are partly dependent on additional adjacent DNA sequences outside of the TTGACY-core motif. A consensus WRKY binding site derived from these studies was used for in silico analysis to identify potential target genes within the Arabidopsis genome. Furthermore, we show that even subtle amino acid substitutions within the DNA binding region of AtWRKY11 strongly impinge on its binding activity. Additionally, all five factors were found localized exclusively to the plant cell nucleus and to be capable of trans-activating expression of a reporter gene construct in vivo.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11103-008-9353-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Arabidopsis promoters; Nuclear localization; Transactivation; W-box element
An inert gas, Freon, can be added to the atmosphere of an anaerobic glove box without deleterious effect to cultures of anaerobic microorganisms. The sensitive probe of a Halogen Leak Detector passing over the outside surface of the box will pinpoint any escaping Freon and therefore locate the leak.
SRY-related cDNA encoding a protein with a high-mobility-group (HMG) box and a leucine zipper motif, which was designated SOX-LZ, was isolated from a rainbow trout testis cDNA library. Comparison of this cDNA with the mouse homologous cDNA isolated from a testis cDNA library exhibits an overall amino acid sequence identity of 77%, which is in striking contrast to the abrupt loss of amino acid sequence homology outside the HMG box found among mammalian SRY genes. In both rainbow trout and mice, Northern (RNA) blot analyses have revealed the presence of a testis-specific 3-kb-long SOX-LZ mRNA, and this transcript appeared coincidentally with the protamine mRNA, suggesting its expression in the germ line. A recombinant HMG box region protein encoded by SOX-LZ could bind strongly with an oligonucleotide containing an AACAAT sequence, which is also recognized by mouse Sry and Sox-5. Upon cotransfection into CHO cells, SOX-LZ transactivated transcription through its binding motif when the region including the leucine zipper motif was deleted [SOX-LZ (D105-356)]; however, the intact SOX-LZ failed to transactivate. The intact SOX-LZ could form homodimers through the leucine zipper, which resulted in inhibition of DNA binding by the HMG box, while SOX-LZ (D105-356), which was incapable of dimerization, showed specific binding with the AACAAT sequence. Thus, the repressed transactivation of the intact SOX-LZ in CHO cells was primarily attributable to the low level of DNA binding of SOX-LZ homodimers.
When targeted to sequences adjacent to a TATA element, pyrrole-imidazole (Py-Im) polyamides inhibit the DNA binding activity of TATA box binding protein (TBP) and basal transcription by RNA polymerase II. In the present study, we scanned the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 promoter for polyamide inhibition of TBP binding and transcription using a series of DNA constructs in which a polyamide binding site was placed at various distances from the TATA box. Polyamide interference with either TBP-DNA or TFIID-TFIIA-DNA contacts both upstream and downstream of the TATA element resulted in inhibition of transcription. Our results define important protein-DNA interactions outside of the TATA element and suggest that transcription inhibition of selected gene promoters can be achieved with polyamides that target unique sequences within these promoters at a distance from the TATA element. Our studies also demonstrate the utility of the Py-Im polyamides for discovery of functionally important protein-DNA contacts involved in transcription.
Mutations in dnaA, an essential gene in Escherichia coli, decrease the frequency of transposition of Tn5. An insertion mutation in the dnaA gene does not affect Tn5 gene expression. Therefore, the DnaA protein plays a role either in the transposition reaction itself or in some type of cellular regulation of transposition. Analysis of a mutation in the DnaA box, found at the outside end of IS50, is consistent with a direct interaction of the protein through these bases. IS50 transposition, which utilizes only one end containing a DnaA box, is not affected by dnaA mutations. Overproduction of the DnaA protein does not increase transposition frequencies in wild-type cells, even when the transposase is also overproduced.
The complete nucleotide sequence of the rat alpha 1-acid glycoprotein gene has been determined from an isolated lambda recombinant bacteriophage. Southern blot analysis and DNA sequencing indicate that there is only one gene per genome; it contains six exons and is located within a 3,200-base-pair fragment starting from a TATA box and extending to the polyadenylation signal AATAAA. Transcription starts 37 base pairs upstream from the beginning of the translation codon ATG. The TATA box (TATAAA) lies 26 base pairs upstream from this site. The gene contains several potential glucocorticoid receptor-binding sites, both inside and outside the structural gene.
A region in the adenovirus major late promoter (MLP) containing a CCAAT consensus sequence can direct transcription termination of RNA polymerase II, a mechanism that possibly prevents transcriptional interference from upstream genes. Using a chimeric plasmid template that contains the MLP directing expression of the simian virus 40 early region, we showed that an inserted oligonucleotide containing only 13 base pairs of MLP sequences, including the CCAAT box, is capable of inducing transcription termination in an orientation-dependent, position-independent manner. Point mutations within the CCAAT-specific protein-binding site abolished this effect, while a base substitution outside of this region did not affect termination. These data suggest that termination is mediated by a CCAAT box-binding protein. Several other transcription factor-binding sites do not, however, cause termination, suggesting that this may be a relatively specific property of a CCAAT-binding protein.
Cell biologists love to think outside the box, pursuing many surprising twists and unexpected turns in their quest to unravel the mysteries of how cells work. But can cell biologists think outside the bench? We are certain that they can, and clearly some already do. To encourage more cell biologists to venture into the realm of translational research on a regular basis, we would like to share a handful of the many lessons that we have learned in our effort to develop experimental treatments for Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), an endeavor that many view as a “poster child” for how basic cell biology can be translated to the clinic.
When a segment of artery, killed by heat, formalin or glycerin is transplanted, it undergoes a rapid degeneration. Its muscle fibers disappear while the tissue of the host reacts by building a new wall of connective tissue. When the transplanted vessel has been preserved in a condition of latent life, no degeneration of the wall occurs, or the wall undergoes only partial degeneration. The muscle fibers can keep their normal appearance, even for a long time after the operation. It is, therefore, demonstrated that arteries can be preserved outside of the body in a condition of unmanifested actual life. The best method of preservation consists of placing the vessels, immersed in vaselin, in an ice box, the temperature of which is slightly above the freezing point. From a surgical standpoint, the transplantation of preserved vessels can be used with some safety. When the arteries were kept in defibrinated blood or vaselin and in cold storage, the proportion of positive results was 75 and 80 per cent., and this can probably be increased.
Stress at work, as shown by a number of human studies, may lead to a variety of negative and durable effects, such as impaired psychological functioning (anxiety, depression…). Horses share with humans this characteristic of working on a daily basis and are submitted then to work stressors related to physical constraints and/or more “psychological” conflicts, such as potential controversial orders from the riders or the requirement to suppress emotions. On another hand, horses may perform abnormal repetitive behaviour (“stereotypies”) in response to adverse life conditions. In the present study, we investigated whether the type of work the horses are used for may have an impact on their tendency to show stereotypic behaviour (and its type) outside work. Observations in their box of 76 horses all living in the same conditions, belonging to one breed and one sex, revealed that the prevalence and types of stereotypies performed strongly depended upon the type of work they were used for. The stereotypies observed involved mostly mouth movements and head tossing/nodding. Work constraints probably added to unfavourable living conditions, favouring the emergence of chronic abnormal behaviours. This is especially remarkable as the 23 hours spent in the box were influenced by the one hour work performed every day. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence of potential effects of work stressors on the emergence of abnormal behaviours in an animal species. It raises an important line of thought on the chronic impact of the work situation on the daily life of individuals.
The discovery of Helicobacter pylori has already changed the natural history of peptic ulcer disease, with most patients being cured at their first presentation. Similarly, the incidence of gastric cancer and other diseases related to H. pylori are likely to be greatly reduced in the near future. Isolation of the spiral intragastric bacterium H. pylori totally reversed the false dogma that the stomach was sterile, and it taught us that chronic infectious disease can still exist in modern society. Helicobacter pylori’s unique location, persistence, and evasion of the immune system offer important insights into the pathophysiology of the gut. Also, the fact that it was overlooked for so long encourages us to think “outside the box” when investigating other diseases with obscure etiologies. We should consider such provocative scientific ideas as bridges to the future disease control.
H. pylori diagnosis; H. pylori eradication; peptic ulcer; gastritis; gastric cancer
Strychnine-sensitive glycine receptors are expressed in many adult forebrain regions, yet the biological function of these receptors outside the spinal cord/brainstem is poorly understood. We have recently shown that rat lateral/basolateral amygdala neurons express strychnine-sensitive glycine-gated currents whose pharmacological and molecular characteristics are consistent with those established for classic ligand-gated chloride channels. The current studies were undertaken to establish the behavioral role, if any, of these strychnine-sensitive glycine receptors. Adult Long-Evans male rats were implanted with guide cannulae targeted at the lateral amygdala and were micro-injected with standard artificial cerebrospinal fluid with or without various doses of strychnine or taurine. Anxiety-like behaviors were assessed with the elevated plus-maze or the light/dark box. In the elevated plus maze, strychnine decreased closed-arm time and increased open-arm time, suggestive of an anxiolytic effect. Similarly, strychnine produced a modest anxiolytic effect in the light/dark box. Post-hoc analysis of ‘open-arm’ time and ‘light-side’ time indicated that aCSF-treated animals were distributed into two apparent groups that displayed either high or low amounts of anxiety-like behavior in a given apparatus. Surprisingly, the pharmacological effects of both strychnine and taurine in these assays were dependent upon a given animal’s behavioral phenotype. Together, these findings are significant because they suggest that the basal ‘emotional state’ of the animal could influence the behavioral outcome associated with drug application directly into the lateral/basolateral amygdala. Furthermore, our findings also suggest that compounds acting at amygdala strychnine-sensitive glycine receptors may actively modulate this basal anxiety-like state.
limbic system; glycine receptor; microinjection; plus-maze; light/dark box
In elderly persons, antipsychotic drugs are clinically prescribed off-label for a number of disorders outside of their Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved indications (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). The largest number of antipsychotic prescriptions in older adults is for behavioral disturbances associated with dementia. In April 2005, the FDA, based on a meta-analysis of 17 double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trials among elderly people with dementia, determined that atypical antipsychotics were associated with a significantly (1.6−1.7 times) greater mortality risk compared with placebo, and asked that drug manufacturers add a ‘black box’ warning to prescribing information for these drugs. Most deaths were due to either cardiac or infectious causes, the two most common immediate causes of death in dementia in general. Clinicians, patients, and caregivers are left with unclear choices of treatment for dementia patients with psychosis and/or severe agitation. Not only are psychosis and agitation common in persons with dementia but they also frequently cause considerable caregiver distress and hasten institutionalization of patients. At the same time, there is a paucity of evidence-based treatment alternatives to antipsychotics for this population. Thus, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that psychotropics other than antipsychotics represent an overall effective and safe, let alone better, treatment choice for psychosis or agitation in dementia; currently no such treatment has been approved by the FDA for these symptoms. Similarly, the data on the efficacy of specific psychosocial treatments in patients with dementia are limited and inconclusive. The goal of this White Paper is to review relevant issues and make clinical and research recommendations regarding the treatment of elderly dementia patients with psychosis and/or agitation. The role of shared decision making and caution in using pharmacotherapy for these patients is stressed.
CLOCK (CLK) is a core component of the transcriptional feedback loops that comprise the circadian timekeeping mechanism in Drosophila. As a heterodimer with CYCLE (CYC), CLK binds E-boxes to activate the transcription of rhythmically expressed genes within and downstream of the circadian clock, but this activation unexpectedly occurs at times when CLK is at its lowest levels on Western blots. Recent studies demonstrate that CLK also regulates nonrhythmic gene expression and behaviors. Despite the critical roles CLK plays within and outside the circadian clock, its spatial expression pattern has not been characterized. Using a newly developed CLK antibody, the authors show that CLK is coexpressed with PERIOD (PER) in canonical oscillator cells throughout the head and body. In contrast to PER, however, the levels of CLK immunoreactivity do not cycle in intensity, CLK is detected primarily in the nucleus throughout the circadian cycle, and CLK is expressed in nonoscillator cells within the lateral and dorsal brain, including Kenyon cells, which mediate various forms of learning and memory. These results indicate that constitutive levels of nuclear CLK regulate rhythmic transcription in circadian oscillator cells and suggest that CLK contributes to other behavioral processes by regulating gene expression in nonoscillator cells.
CLOCK; Drosophila; circadian; oscillator cells; nonoscillator cells
A practical, functional group tolerant method for the Rh-catalyzed direct arylation of a variety of pharmaceutically important azoles with aryl bromides is described. Many of the successful azole and aryl bromide coupling partners are not compatible with methods for the direct arylation of heterocycles using Pd(0) or Cu(I) catalysts. The readily prepared, low molecular weight ligand, Z-1-tert-butyl-2,3,6,7-tetrahydrophosphepine, which coordinates to Rh in a bidentate P-olefin fashion to provide a highly active yet thermally stable arylation catalyst, is essential to the success of this method. By using the tetrafluoroborate salt of the corresponding phosphonium, the reactions can be assembled outside of a glove box without purification of reagents or solvent. The reactions are also conducted in THF or dioxane, which greatly simplifies product isolation relative to most other methods for direct arylation of azoles employing high-boiling amide solvents. The reactions are performed with heating in a microwave reactor to obtain excellent product yields in two hours.
Rhodium catalysis; Direct arylation; C-H activation; Heterocycles
This paper describes a comprehensive approach to construct quality meshes for implicit solvation models of biomolecular structures starting from atomic resolution data in the Protein Data Bank (PDB). First, a smooth volumetric electron density map is constructed from atomic data using weighted Gaussian isotropic kernel functions and a two-level clustering technique. This enables the selection of a smooth implicit solvation surface approximation to the Lee-Richards molecular surface. Next, a modified dual contouring method is used to extract triangular meshes for the surface, and tetrahedral meshes for the volume inside or outside the molecule within a bounding sphere/box of influence. Finally, geometric flow techniques are used to improve the surface and volume mesh quality. Several examples are presented, including generated meshes for biomolecules that have been successfully used in finite element simulations involving solvation energetics and binding rate constants.
quality mesh; biomolecule; implicit solvation model; finite element simulation
Bacterial chromosome replication is initiated by binding of DnaA to a DnaA-box cluster (DBC) within the replication origin (oriC). In Bacillus subtilis, six additional DBCs are found outside of oriC and some are known to be involved in transcriptional regulation of neighboring genes. A deletion mutant lacking the six DBCs (Δ6) initiated replication early. Further, inactivation of spo0J in Δ6 cells yielded a pleiotropic phenotype, accompanied by severe growth inhibition. However, a spontaneous suppressor in soj or a deletion of soj, which stimulates DnaA activity in the absence of Spo0J, counteracted these effects. Such abnormal phenotypic features were not observed in a mutant background in which replication initiation was driven by a plasmid-derived replication origin. Moreover, introduction of a single DBC at various ectopic positions within the Δ6 chromosome partly suppressed the early-initiation phenotype, but this was dependent on insertion location. We propose that DBCs negatively regulate replication initiation by interacting with DnaA molecules and play a major role, together with Spo0J/Soj, in regulating the activity of DnaA.