Microbiology

Forcing Partition

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Science  28 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5577, pp. 2299
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5577.2299a

The description by Jones et al. of actinlike proteins forming a meshwork in Bacillus subtilis has contributed to a discussion of how bacteria might generate forces that, in eukaryotic cells, require a cytoskeletal framework. One such process for which force is needed is the allocation of replicated bacterial DNA (chromosome and plasmids) to the daughter cells. Møller-Jensen et al. have studied the actinlike filament composed of the ParM ATPase, which is encoded on the R1 plasmid in Escherichia coli. They find that ParM polymerization required ATP (like actin) and appeared to utilize a nucleation site established by two other regions of the par locus: the DNA binding protein ParR and the centromerelike DNA region parC. Together, these components segregate plasmids to opposite ends of the cell, in a fashion analogous to how the mitotic spindle functions in eukaryotic cells. — SMH

Cell104, 913 (2001); EMBO J. 21, 3119 (2002).

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