An inducible DNA replication-cell division coupling mechanism in E. coli

Author: Huisman, O.; D’Ari, R.

Description: Cell division is a tightly regulated periodic process. In steady-state cultures of Enterobacteriaceae, division takes place at a well defined cell mass and is strictly coordinated with DNA replication. In wild-type Escherichia coli the formation of cells lacking DNA is very rare, and interruptions of DNA replication arrest cell division. The molecular bases of this replication-division coupling have been elusive but several models have been proposed. It has been suggested, for example, that the termination of a round of DNA replication may trigger a key event required for cell division. A quite different model postulates the existence of a division inhibitor which prevents untimely division and whose synthesis is induced to high levels when DNA replication is perturbed. The work reported here establishes the existence of the latter type of replication-division coupling in E. coli, and shows that the sfiA gene product is an inducible component of this division inhibition mechanism which is synthesized at high levels after perturbations of DNA replication.

Subject headings: Bacterial Proteins/physiology; Cell Division; DNA Replication; Escherichia coli/genetics/physiology; Gene Expression Regulation/radiation effects; Genes, Regulator; Hot Temperature; Thymine/metabolism; Ultraviolet Rays; E coli

Publication year: 1981

Journal or book title: Nature

Volume: 290

Issue: 5809

Pages: 797-799

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 410