In Vivo Architecture and Action of Bacterial Structural Maintenance of Chromosome Proteins

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Science  26 Oct 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6106, pp. 528-531
DOI: 10.1126/science.1227126

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SMC (structural maintenance of chromosome) proteins act ubiquitously in chromosome processing. In Escherichia coli, the SMC complex MukBEF plays roles in chromosome segregation and organization. We used single-molecule millisecond multicolor fluorescence microscopy of live bacteria to reveal that a dimer of dimeric fluorescent MukBEF molecules acts as the minimal functional unit. On average, 8 to 10 of these complexes accumulated as “spots” in one to three discrete chromosome-associated regions of the cell, where they formed higher-order structures. Functional MukBEF within spots exchanged with freely diffusing complexes at a rate of one complex about every 50 seconds in reactions requiring adenosine triphosphate (ATP) hydrolysis. Thus, by functioning in pairs, MukBEF complexes may undergo multiple cycles of ATP hydrolysis without being released from DNA, analogous to the behavior of well-characterized molecular motors.

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