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  • Blackwell Science Ltd  (3)
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  • 1
    ISSN: 1365-2958
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Medicine
    Notes: In Escherichia coli, chromosome dimers are resolved to monomers by the addition of a single cross-over at a specific locus on the chromosome, dif. Recombination is performed by two tyrosine recombinases, XerC and XerD, and requires the action of an additional protein, FtsK. We show that Haemophilus influenzae FtsK activates recombination by H. influenzae XerCD at H. influenzae dif. However, it cannot activate recombination by E. coli XerCD. Reciprocally, E. coli FtsK cannot activate recombination by the H. influenzae recombinases at H. influenzae dif. We took advantage of this species specificity to gain further insight into the mechanism of activation of Xer recombination at dif by FtsK. We mapped the region of FtsK implicated in species specificity to the extreme 140-amino-acid C-terminal residues of the protein. Our results suggest that FtsK interacts directly with XerCD in order to activate recombination at dif.
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1365-2958
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Medicine
    Notes: Escherichia coli FtsK is a multifunctional protein that couples cell division and chromosome segregation. Its N-terminal transmembrane domain (FtsKN) is essential for septum formation, whereas its C-terminal domain (FtsKC) is required for chromosome dimer resolution by XerCD-dif site-specific recombination. FtsKC is an ATP-dependent DNA translocase. In vitro and in vivo data point to a dual role for this domain in chromosome dimer resolution (i) to directly activate recombination by XerCD-dif and (ii) to bring recombination sites together and/or to clear DNA from the closing septum. FtsKN and FtsKC are separated by a long linker region (FtsKL) of unknown function that is highly divergent between bacterial species. Here, we analysed the in vivo effects of deletions of FtsKL and/or of FtsKC, of swaps of these domains with their Haemophilus influenzae counterparts and of a point mutation that inactivates the walker A motif of FtsKC. Phenotypic characterization of the mutants indicated a role for FtsKL in cell division. More importantly, even though Xer recombination activation and DNA mobilization both rely on the ATPase activity of FtsKC, mutants were found that can perform only one or the other of these two functions, which allowed their separation in vivo for the first time.
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1365-2958
    Source: Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
    Topics: Biology , Medicine
    Notes: The positions of DNA regions close to the chromosome replication origin and terminus in growing cells of Escherichia coli have been visualized simultaneously, using new widely applicable reagents. Furthermore, the positions of these regions with respect to a replication factory-associated protein have been analysed. Time-lapse analysis has allowed the fate of origins, termini and the FtsZ ring to be followed in a lineage-specific manner during the formation of microcolonies. These experiments reveal new aspects of the E. coli cell cycle and demonstrate that the replication terminus region is frequently located asymmetrically, on the new pole side of mid-cell. This asymmetry could provide a mechanism by which the chromosome segregation protein FtsK, located at the division septum, can act directionally to ensure that the septal region is free of DNA before the completion of cell division.
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