ABSTRACT: Partition cassettes, essential for the segregational stability of low-copy-number bacterial plasmids, typically encode two autoregulated proteins and an adjacent cis-acting centromere analog to which one or perhaps both proteins bind. The diminutive partition region of pTAR of Agrobacterium spp. was reported to be exceptional, encoding only a single protein, ParA (D. R. Gallie and C. I. Kado, J. Mol. Biol. 193:465-478, 1987). However, resequencing of the region revealed two small downstream genes, parB and orf-84, of which only parB was found to be essential for partitioning in A. tumefaciens. Purified ParA exhibited a weak ATPase activity that was modestly increased by nonspecific DNA. ParB bound in vitro to repeated sequences present in a region, parS, that possesses centromere and operator functions and within which we identified the primary transcription start site by primer extension. In certain respects the Par proteins behave normally in the foreign host Escherichia coli. In E. coli, as in A. tumefaciens, ParB repressed the partition operon; ParA, inactive alone, augmented this repression. Functional similarities between the partition system of pTAR and those of other plasmids and bacteria are prominent, despite differences in size, organization, and amino acid sequence.
Project description:High segregational stability of the streptococcal plasmid pSM19035 is achieved by the concerted action of systems involved in plasmid copy number control, multimer resolution, and postsegregational killing. In this study, we demonstrate the role of two genes, delta and omega, in plasmid stabilization by a partition mechanism. We show that these two genes can stabilize the native pSM19035 replicon as well as other theta- and sigma-type plasmids in Bacillus subtilis. In contrast to other known partition systems, in this case the two genes are transcribed separately; however, they are coregulated by the product of the parB-like gene omega. Analysis of mutants of the parA-like gene delta showed that the Walker A ATPase motif is necessary for plasmid stabilization. The ParB-like product of the omega gene binds to three regions containing repeated WATCACW heptamers, localized in the copS (regulation of plasmid copy number), delta, and omega promoter regions. We demonstrate that all three of these regions can cause partition-mediated incompatibility. Moreover, our data suggest that each of these could play the role of a centromere-like sequence. We conclude that delta and omega constitute a novel type of plasmid stabilization system.
Project description:Bacterial centromeres-also called parS, are cis-acting DNA sequences which, together with the proteins ParA and ParB, are involved in the segregation of chromosomes and plasmids. The specific binding of ParB to parS nucleates the assembly of a large ParB/DNA complex from which ParA-the motor protein, segregates the sister replicons. Closely related families of partition systems, called Bsr, were identified on the chromosomes and large plasmids of the multi-chromosomal bacterium Burkholderia cenocepacia and other species from the order Burkholeriales. The centromeres of the Bsr partition families are 16 bp palindromes, displaying similar base compositions, notably a central CG dinucleotide. Despite centromeres bind the cognate ParB with a narrow specificity, weak ParB-parS non cognate interactions were nevertheless detected between few Bsr partition systems of replicons not belonging to the same genome. These observations suggested that Bsr partition systems could have a common ancestry but that evolution mostly erased the possibilities of cross-reactions between them, in particular to prevent replicon incompatibility. To detect novel similarities between Bsr partition systems, we have analyzed the binding of six Bsr parS sequences and a wide collection of modified derivatives, to their cognate ParB. The study was carried out by Surface Plasmon Resonance imaging (SPRi) mulitplex analysis enabling a systematic survey of each nucleotide position within the centromere. We found that in each parS some positions could be changed while maintaining binding to ParB. Each centromere displays its own pattern of changes, but some positions are shared more or less widely. In addition from these changes we could speculate evolutionary links between these centromeres.
Project description:Bacterial plasmids are extrachromosomal DNA that provides selective advantages for bacterial survival. Plasmid partitioning can be remarkably robust. For high-copy-number plasmids, diffusion ensures that both daughter cells inherit plasmids after cell division. In contrast, most low-copy-number plasmids need to be actively partitioned by a conserved tripartite ParA-type system. ParA is an ATPase that binds to chromosomal DNA; ParB is the stimulator of the ParA ATPase and specifically binds to the plasmid at a centromere-like site, parS. ParB stimulation of the ParA ATPase releases ParA from the bacterial chromosome, after which it takes a long time to reset its DNA-binding affinity. We previously demonstrated in vitro that the ParA system can exploit this biochemical asymmetry for directed cargo transport. Multiple ParA-ParB bonds can bridge a parS-coated cargo to a DNA carpet, and they can work collectively as a Brownian ratchet that directs persistent cargo movement with a ParA-depletion zone trailing behind. By extending this model, we suggest that a similar Brownian ratchet mechanism recapitulates the full range of actively segregated plasmid motilities observed in vivo. We demonstrate that plasmid motility is tuned as the replenishment rate of the ParA-depletion zone progressively increases relative to the cargo speed, evolving from diffusion to pole-to-pole oscillation, local excursions, and, finally, immobility. When the plasmid replicates, the daughters largely display motilities similar to that of their mother, except that when the single-focus progenitor is locally excursive, the daughter foci undergo directed segregation. We show that directed segregation maximizes the fidelity of plasmid partition. Given that local excursion and directed segregation are the most commonly observed modes of plasmid motility in vivo, we suggest that the operation of the ParA-type partition system has been shaped by evolution for high fidelity of plasmid segregation.
Project description:Walker-box partition systems are ubiquitous in nature and mediate the segregation of bacterial and archaeal DNA. Well-studied plasmid Walker-box partition modules require ParA, centromere-DNA, and a centromere-binding protein, ParB. In these systems, ParA-ATP binds nucleoid DNA and uses it as a substratum to deliver ParB-attached cargo DNA, and ParB drives ParA dynamics, allowing ParA progression along the nucleoid. How ParA-ATP binds nonspecific DNA and is regulated by ParB is unclear. Also under debate is whether ParA polymerizes on DNA to mediate segregation. Here we describe structures of key ParA segregation complexes. The ParA-?,?-imidoadenosine 5'-triphosphate (AMPPNP)-DNA structure revealed no polymers. Instead, ParA-AMPPNP dimerization creates a multifaceted DNA-binding surface, allowing it to preferentially bind high-density DNA regions (HDRs). DNA-bound ParA-AMPPNP adopts a dimer conformation distinct from the ATP sandwich dimer, optimized for DNA association. Our ParA-AMPPNP-ParB structure reveals that ParB binds at the ParA dimer interface, stabilizing the ATPase-competent ATP sandwich dimer, ultimately driving ParA DNA dissociation. Thus, the data indicate how harnessing a conformationally adaptive dimer can drive large-scale cargo movement without the requirement for polymers and suggest a segregation mechanism by which ParA-ATP dimers equilibrate to HDRs shown to be localized near cell poles of dividing chromosomes, thus mediating equipartition of attached ParB-DNA substrates.
Project description:DNA segregation ensures the stable inheritance of genetic material prior to cell division. Many bacterial chromosomes and low-copy plasmids, such as the plasmids P1 and F, employ a three-component system to partition replicated genomes: a partition site on the DNA target, typically called parS, a partition site binding protein, typically called ParB, and a Walker-type ATPase, typically called ParA, which also binds non-specific DNA. In vivo, the ParA family of ATPases forms dynamic patterns over the nucleoid, but how ATP-driven patterning is involved in partition is unknown. We reconstituted and visualized ParA-mediated plasmid partition inside a DNA-carpeted flowcell, which acts as an artificial nucleoid. ParA and ParB transiently bridged plasmid to the DNA carpet. ParB-stimulated ATP hydrolysis by ParA resulted in ParA disassembly from the bridging complex and from the surrounding DNA carpet, which led to plasmid detachment. Our results support a diffusion-ratchet model, where ParB on the plasmid chases and redistributes the ParA gradient on the nucleoid, which in turn mobilizes the plasmid.
Project description:Plasmid pCXC100 from the Gram-positive bacterium Leifsonia xyli subsp. cynodontis uses a type Ib partition system that includes a centromere region, a Walker-type ATPase ParA and a centromere-binding protein ParB for stable segregation. However, ParB shows no detectable sequence homology to any DNA-binding motif. Here, we study the ParB centromere interaction by structural and biochemical approaches. The crystal structure of the C-terminal DNA-binding domain of ParB at 1.4 Å resolution reveals a dimeric ribbon-helix-helix (RHH) motif, supporting the prevalence of RHH motif in centromere binding. Using hydroxyl radical footprinting and quantitative binding assays, we show that the centromere core comprises nine uninterrupted 9-nt direct repeats that can be successively bound by ParB dimers in a cooperative manner. However, the interaction of ParB with a single subsite requires 18 base pairs covering one immediate repeat as well as two halves of flanking repeats. Through mutagenesis, sequence specificity was determined for each position of an 18-bp subsite. These data suggest an unique centromere recognition mechanism by which the repeat sequence is jointly specified by adjacent ParB dimers bound to an overlapped region.
Project description:Chromosome and plasmid segregation in bacteria are mostly driven by ParABS systems. These DNA partitioning machineries rely on large nucleoprotein complexes assembled on centromere sites (parS). However, the mechanism of how a few parS-bound ParB proteins nucleate the formation of highly concentrated ParB clusters remains unclear despite several proposed physico-mathematical models. We discriminated between these different models by varying some key parameters in vivo using the F plasmid partition system. We found that "Nucleation & caging" is the only coherent model recapitulating in vivo data. We also showed that the stochastic self-assembly of partition complexes (i) is a robust mechanism, (ii) does not directly involve ParA ATPase, (iii) results in a dynamic structure of discrete size independent of ParB concentration, and (iv) is not perturbed by active transcription but is by protein complexes. We refined the "Nucleation & caging" model and successfully applied it to the chromosomally encoded Par system of Vibrio cholerae, indicating that this stochastic self-assembly mechanism is widely conserved from plasmids to chromosomes.
Project description:ParB proteins are one of the three essential components of partition systems that actively segregate bacterial chromosomes and plasmids. In binding to centromere sequences, ParB assembles as nucleoprotein structures called partition complexes. These assemblies are the substrates for the partitioning process that ensures DNA molecules are segregated to both sides of the cell. We recently identified the sopC centromere nucleotides required for binding to the ParB homologue of plasmid F, SopB. This analysis also suggested a role in sopC binding for an arginine residue, R219, located outside the helix-turn-helix (HTH) DNA-binding motif previously shown to be the only determinant for sopC-specific binding. Here, we demonstrated that the R219 residue is critical for SopB binding to sopC during partition. Mutating R219 to alanine or lysine abolished partition by preventing partition complex assembly. Thus, specificity of SopB binding relies on two distinct motifs, an HTH and an arginine residue, which define a split DNA-binding domain larger than previously thought. Bioinformatic analysis over a broad range of chromosomal ParBs generalized our findings with the identification of a non-HTH positively charged residue essential for partition and centromere binding, present in a newly identified highly conserved motif. We propose that ParB proteins possess two DNA-binding motifs that form an extended centromere-binding domain, providing high specificity.
Project description:Bacterial genes required for proper partitioning consist of two transacting genes that encode proteins and a cis-acting gene that functions like a centromere. Plasmids actively partitioning by means of these genes migrate from midcell to the cell quarters and are tethered to these sites until the cells divide. Previously the partitioning genes were mainly found on plasmids and phages in Escherichia coli. However, progress in genome sequencing reveals that partitioning genes are ubiquitous in many bacterial plasmids and chromosomes. Each homologue of the two transacting genes belongs to a family, ParA or ParB. Moreover, phylogenic analysis of members of the ParA and ParB families indicates that each member falls into a chromosomal group or an extrachromosomal group. It is known that the parAB genes in the chromosomal group are located on relatively conserved chromosomal regions in several bacterial species. This suggests that the parAB genes were transferred from a chromosome to plasmids and phages, so the genes have diverged among bacterial species. To support this possibility, we show that the Bacillus subtilis Soj and Spo0J members of the ParAB families are responsible for the specific localization of plasmids at cell quarters in E. coli and can function as partition proteins. Host factors to tether actively partitioning plasmids at subcellular sites may be conserved in Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria so that phages and plasmids with the ParAB partitioning system can be stably inherited in host cells across bacterial species.
Project description:Bacteria use partitioning systems based on the ParA ATPase to actively mobilize and spatially organize molecular cargoes throughout the cytoplasm. The bacterium Caulobacter crescentus uses a ParA-based partitioning system to segregate newly replicated chromosomal centromeres to opposite cell poles. Here we demonstrate that the Caulobacter PopZ scaffold creates an organizing center at the cell pole that actively regulates polar centromere transport by the ParA partition system. As segregation proceeds, the ParB-bound centromere complex is moved by progressively disassembling ParA from a nucleoid-bound structure. Using superresolution microscopy, we show that released ParA is recruited directly to binding sites within a 3D ultrastructure composed of PopZ at the cell pole, whereas the ParB-centromere complex remains at the periphery of the PopZ structure. PopZ recruitment of ParA stimulates ParA to assemble on the nucleoid near the PopZ-proximal cell pole. We identify mutations in PopZ that allow scaffold assembly but specifically abrogate interactions with ParA and demonstrate that PopZ/ParA interactions are required for proper chromosome segregation in vivo. We propose that during segregation PopZ sequesters free ParA and induces target-proximal regeneration of ParA DNA binding activity to enforce processive and pole-directed centromere segregation, preventing segregation reversals. PopZ therefore functions as a polar hub complex at the cell pole to directly regulate the directionality and destination of transfer of the mitotic segregation machine.