Highly organized DnaA-oriC complexes recruit the single-stranded DNA for replication initiation

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In Escherichia coli, the replication origin oriC consists of two functional regions: the duplex unwinding element (DUE) and its flanking DnaA-assembly region (DAR). ATP-DnaA molecules multimerize on DAR, unwinding DUE for DnaB helicase loading. However, DUE-unwinding mechanisms and functional structures in DnaA-oriC complexes supporting those remain unclear. Here, using various in vitro reconstituted systems, we identify functionally distinct DnaA sub-complexes formed on DAR and reveal novel mechanisms in DUE unwinding. The DUE-flanking left-half DAR carrying high-affinity DnaA box R1 and the ATP-DnaA-preferential DnaA box R5, τ1-2 and I1-2 sites formed a DnaA sub-complex competent in DUE unwinding and ssDUE binding, thereby supporting basal DnaB loading activity. This sub-complex is further subdivided into two; the DUE-distal DnaA sub-complex formed on the ATP-DnaA-preferential sites binds ssDUE. Notably, the DUE-flanking, DnaA box R1-DnaA sub-complex recruits DUE to the DUE-distal DnaA sub-complex in concert with a DNA-bending nucleoid protein IHF, thereby promoting DUE unwinding and binding of ssDUE. The right-half DAR-DnaA sub-complex stimulated DnaB loading, consistent with in vivo analyses. Similar features are seen in DUE unwinding of the hyperthermophile, Thermotoga maritima, indicating evolutional conservation of those mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1648-1665
Number of pages18
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics


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