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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Binding of SeqA protein to DNA requires interaction between two or more complexes bound to separate hemimethylated GATC sequences.

The SeqA protein binds to the post-replicative forms of the origins of replication of the Escherichia coli chromosome (oriC) and the P1 plasmid (P1oriR) at hemimethylated GATC adenine methylation sites. It appears to regulate replication by preventing premature reinitiation. However, SeqA binding is not exclusive to replication origins: different fragments with hemimethylated GATC sites can bind SeqA in vitro when certain rules apply. Most notably, more than one such site must be present on a bound fragment. The protein appears to recognize individual hemimethylated sites, but must undergo an obligate cooperative interaction with a nearby bound protein for stable binding. SeqA contacts both DNA strands in a discrete patch at each hemimethylated GATC sequence. All four GATC bases are contacted and are essential for binding. Although the recognized sequence is symmetrical, the footprint on the methylated strand is always broader, suggesting that the bound protein is positioned asymmetrically with its orientation dictated by the position of the unique methyl group. Studies of alternative spacings and relative orientations of adjacent sites suggest that each site may be recognized by a symmetrical dimer with an induced asymmetry in one of the subunits similar to that seen with certain type II restriction endonucleases.[1]


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