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

The form of chromosomal DNA molecules in bacterial cells.

The circular concept of the bacterial chromosome was based initially on experiments involving conjugation mapping and autoradiographic imaging of DNA. This view was then supported by DNA fragment mapping, genome sequencing, and the analysis of linear DNA produced by a single cleavage of chromosomal DNA. A circular chromosome is also indicated by the existence of a mechanism for segregating dimeric chromosomes produced by recombination and the replication of DNA on both sides of the replication terminus. The evidence for circularity is reviewed here and found to be compatible with either a circular or a linear chromosomal DNA molecule. Moving pictures of ethidium-stained DNA revealed most chromosomal DNA as a rosette form with loops emanating from a dense node or as a network of strands lacking a node. This description applies to Escherichia coli, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Pyrococcus endeavorii, Vibrio cholerae, and both the linear-mapping chromosome of Streptomyces lividans and its circular-mapping derivative. Networks without nodes were found for two linear-mapping Borrelia species. For the E. coli chromosome, open-form circles of various sizes were found only at extremely low frequency. The node of the rosette was reduced in size or eliminated in recA mutants, as well as by treatment with either ribonuclease, topoisomerase IV, 1 M NaCl, or lysozyme. A model is presented for the bacterial chromosome in which the DNA is compacted by many points of strand association (including recombination junctions, tangles and knots) created during the repair of DNA damage that occurs many times in each chromosome replication cycle.[1]


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