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

Control of cell division by sex factor F in Escherichia coli. II. Identification of genes for inhibitor protein and trigger protein on the 42.84-43.6 F segment.

The genetic structure of the 42.84-43.6 F (BamHI-PstI) segment of the F plasmid, which contains all the F DNA sequences necessary for coupling cell division of F+ bacteria with plasmid DNA replication, was analyzed by isolating a series of amber mutants. Two cistrons were found in this region and they were designated letA and letD (an abbreviation for lethal mutation). The letA and letD cistrons were mapped on the 42.84-43.35 F (BamHI- XmaI ) segment and the 43.07-43.6 F (HincII-PstI) segment, respectively, and are presumed to correspond to the first (43.04-43.26 F) and second (43.26-43.57 F) open reading frames, respectively, which were found in this region by nucleotide sequencing. The letD gene product acts to inhibit cell division of the host bacteria and to induce prophages in lysogenic bacteria, whereas the letA gene product acts to suppress the activity of the letD gene product. Taking into consideration the fact that the 42.84-43.6 F segment carries all the F plasmid genes necessary for coupling cell division with plasmid DNA replication, and that the expression of the genes is likely to be controlled by plasmid DNA replication, we constructed the following hypothesis. Before completion of plasmid DNA replication, LetD protein acts to prevent cell division of the host bacteria. When plasmid DNA replication is completed, synthesis of LetA protein (and also LetD protein) takes place and the LetA protein synthesized acts to suppress the activity of LetD protein and make the cell ready for cell division. Actual cell division will take place when replication of both chromosomal and plasmid DNA is completed and the termination protein of the chromosome and the LetA protein of F plasmid are both synthesized. When cell division takes place LetA protein is consumed, and as a result LetD protein becomes active and prevents cell division until the next round of DNA replication is completed.[1]


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