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

Partition of P1 plasmids in Escherichia coli mukB chromosomal partition mutants.

The partition system of the low-copy-number plasmid/prophage of bacteriophage P1 encodes two proteins, ParA and ParB, and contains a DNA site called parS. ParB and the Escherichia coli protein IHF bind to parS to form the partition complex, in which parS is wrapped around ParB and IHF in a precise three-dimensional conformation. Partition can be thought of as a positioning reaction; the plasmid-encoded components ensure that at least one copy of the plasmid is positioned within each new daughter cell. We have used an E. coli chromosomal partition mutant to test whether this positioning is mediated by direct plasmid-chromosomal attachment, for example, by pairing of the partition complex that forms at parS with a bacterial attachment site. The E. coli MukB protein is required for proper chromosomal positioning, so that mukB mutants generate some cells without chromosomes (anucleate cells) at each cell division. We analyzed the plasmid distribution in nucleate and anucleate mukB cells. We found that P1 plasmids are stable in mukB mutants and that they partition into both nucleate and anucleate cells. This indicates that the P1 partition complex is not used to pair plasmids with the host chromosome and that P1 plasmids must be responsible for their own proper cellular localization, presumably through host-plasmid protein-protein interactions.[1]


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