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

Modulation of DNA supercoiling activity of Escherichia coli DNA gyrase by F plasmid proteins. Antagonistic actions of LetA (CcdA) and LetD (CcdB) proteins.

The letA ( ccdA) and letD (ccdB) genes of F plasmid contribute to stable maintenance of the plasmid in Escherichia coli cells; a product of the latter has a lethal effect on the host cell and that of the former neutralizes functions of the letD. In cells that overproduce the LetD (CcdB) protein, the plasmid DNA is extensively relaxed. Correspondingly, DNA supercoiling activity in a cell-free extract of the overproducing strain decreases to a level of less than 1% of that seen in normal cells. However, the extract does not inhibit DNA gyrase reconstituted from purified subunits, thereby indicating that the intrinsic DNA gyrase is inactivated in the overproducing strain. Upon addition of purified LetA (CcdA) protein to the extract of LetD overproducing cells, the DNA supercoiling activity was fully restored. Using this rejuvenation as an assay, we purified the "inactivated gyrase" and obtained evidence that the LetD protein formed an isolable complex with the A subunit of DNA gyrase. Thus, the LetD and the LetA proteins constitute an opposing pair in modulating the DNA supercoiling activity of gyrase, probably by direct interaction.[1]


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