End of the Beginning: Elongation and Termination Features of Alternative Modes of Chromosomal Replication Initiation in Bacteria
- Jayaraman Gowrishankar
- PLoS genetics
The cell division phenotypes of Escherichia coli with its chromosome replication driven by oriR (from plasmid R1) were examined by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Chromosome replication patterns in these strains were followed by marker frequency analyses. In one of the strains, the unidirectional oriR was integrated so that the replication fork moved clockwise from the oriC region, and bacterial growth and division were similar to those of the wild-type parent. The bacteria were able to convert the unidirectional initiation from oriR into bidirectional replication. The site for conversion of uni- to bidirectional replication seemed to be localized and could be mapped genetically within 6 min to the immediate right of the minimal oriC. Replication starting in the counterclockwise direction from the R1 replicon integrated at the same site in the opposite orientation could not be described as either bi- or unidirectional, as no single predominant origin could be discerned from the more or less flat marker frequency pattern. These strains also showed extensive filamentation, irregular nucleoid distribution and the presence of anucleate cells, indicative of segregation and division defects. Comparison among intR1 derivatives differing in the position of the integrated oriR relative to the chromosome origin suggested that the oriC sequence itself was dispensable for the conversion to bidirectionality. However, passage of the replication fork over the 6 min region to the right of oriC seemed important for the bidirectional replication pattern and normal cell division phenotype.