Keywords Mini-F initiator protein (RepE)
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Replication of mini-F plasmids requires the initiator protein RepE, which binds specifically to four iterons within the origin (ori2), as well as some host factors that are involved in chromosomal DNA replication. To understand the role of host factors and RepE in the early steps of mini-F DNA replication, we examined the effects of RepE and the Escherichia coli proteins DnaA and HU on the localized melting of ori2 DNA in a purified in vitro system. We found that the binding of RepE to an iteron causes a 50° bend at or around the site of binding. RepE and HU exhibited synergistic effects on the localized melting within the ori2 region, as detected by sensitivity to the single-strand specific P1 endonuclease. This opening of duplex DNA occurred around the 13mer of ori2, whose sequence closely resembles the set of 13mers found in the chromosomal origin oriC. Further addition of DnaA to the reaction mixture increased the efficiency of melting and appeared to extend melting to the adjacent AT-rich region. Moreover, DNA melting with appreciably higher efficiencies was observed with mutant forms of RepE that were previously shown to be hyperactive both in DNA binding in vitro and in initiator activity in vivo. We propose that the binding of RepE to four iterons of ori2 causes bending at the sites of RepE binding and, with the assistance of HU, induces a localized melting in the 13mer region. The addition of DnaA extends melting to the AT-rich region, which could then serve as the entry site for the DnaB-DnaC complex, much as has been documented for oriC- dependent replication.
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