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

Origin binding activity of the Mycobacterial plasmid pAL5000 replication protein RepB is stimulated through interactions with host factors and coupled expression of repA.

The minimal replication region of the mycobacterial plasmid pAL5000 encompasses the replication origin (ori) and two tandemly organized replication genes, repA and repB, the functions of which are not clearly known. It was observed that when the repA and repB genes were expressed in Escherichia coli, a strong ori binding activity was generated in the host cells. Inactivation of repB led to a complete loss of activity, whereas inactivation of repA had a partial effect, indicating that while repB plays an important role in the process, its activity is stimulated through coexpression of repA. However, this stimulatory effect could be demonstrated only when expression of repA and that of repB were coupled. At a relatively high concentration (1,000 nM), the purified RepB protein was found to form an ori complex with low specificity, which was sensitive to high salt concentrations and challenge by a nonspecific competitor. In contrast, the complex formed by an extract of repA-repB-expressing cells was highly specific and was resistant to both types of challenges. At a 10-fold-lower concentration, RepB did not exhibit ori binding activity, but it could nevertheless form a salt-resistant ori complex in vitro, provided that host factors were present. Antibody supershift experiments indicated that RepB is a key component of the specific complex formed by extracts prepared from E. coli cells expressing the repA and repB genes and also from mycobacterial cells harboring pAL5000-derived vectors. The results indicate that in vivo RepB interacts with host factors and forms an ori complex, but this activity is maximal only when there is coupled expression of repA.[1]


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