DnaA and the timing of chromosome replication in Escherichia coli as a function of growth rate
Grant, Matthew A. A.
Cosentino Lagomarsino, Marco
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Grant, M. A. A., Saggioro, C., Ferrari, U., Bassetti, B., Sclavi, B., & Cosentino Lagomarsino, M. (2011). DnaA and the timing of chromosome replication in Escherichia coli as a function of growth rate. http://www.dspace.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/241920
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Abstract Background In Escherichia coli, overlapping rounds of DNA replication allow the bacteria to double in faster times than the time required to copy the genome. The precise timing of initiation of DNA replication is determined by a regulatory circuit that depends on the binding of a critical number of ATP-bound DnaA proteins at the origin of replication, resulting in the melting of the DNA and the assembly of the replication complex. The synthesis of DnaA in the cell is controlled by a growth-rate dependent, negatively autoregulated gene found near the origin of replication. Both the regulatory and initiation activity of DnaA depend on its nucleotide bound state and its availability. Results In order to investigate the contributions of the different regulatory processes to the timing of initiation of DNA replication at varying growth rates, we formulate a minimal quantitative model of the initiator circuit that includes the key ingredients known to regulate the activity of the DnaA protein. This model describes the average-cell oscillations in DnaA-ATP/DNA during the cell cycle, for varying growth rates. We evaluate the conditions under which this ratio attains the same threshold value at the time of initiation, independently of the growth rate. Conclusions We find that a quantitative description of replication initiation by DnaA must rely on the dependency of the basic parameters on growth rate, in order to account for the timing of initiation of DNA replication at different cell doubling times. We isolate two main possible scenarios for this, depending on the roles of DnaA autoregulation and DnaA ATP-hydrolysis regulatory process. One possibility is that the basal rate of regulatory inactivation by ATP hydrolysis must vary with growth rate. Alternatively, some parameters defining promoter activity need to be a function of the growth rate. In either case, the basal rate of gene expression needs to increase with the growth rate, in accordance with the known characteristics of the dnaA promoter. Furthermore, both inactivation and autorepression reduce the amplitude of the cell-cycle oscillations of DnaA-ATP/DNA.
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