Publication Details

Graham, T. G. W., Wang, X., Song, D., Etson, C. M., van Oijen, A. M., Rudner, D. Z. & Loparo, J. J. (2014). ParB spreading requires DNA bridging. Genes and Development, 28 (11), 1228-1238.


The parABS system is a widely employed mechanism for plasmid partitioning and chromosome segregation in bacteria. ParB binds to parS sites on plasmids and chromosomes and associates with broad regions of adjacent DNA, a phenomenon known as spreading. Although essential for ParB function, the mechanism of spreading remains poorly understood. Using single-molecule approaches, we discovered that Bacillus subtilis ParB (Spo0J) is able to trap DNA loops. Point mutants in Spo0J that disrupt DNA bridging are defective in spreading and recruitment of structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) condensin complexes in vivo. DNA bridging helps to explain how a limited number of Spo0J molecules per parS site (∼20) can spread over many kilobases and suggests a mechanism by which ParB proteins could facilitate the loading of SMC complexes. We show that DNA bridging is a property of diverse ParB homologs, suggesting broad evolutionary conservation.



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