Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Movement and equipositioning of plasmids by ParA filament disassembly

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Kenn Gerdes


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Bacterial plasmids encode partitioning (par) loci that confer stable plasmid inheritance. We showed previously that, in the presence of ParB and parC encoded by the par2 locus of plasmid pB171, ParA formed cytoskeletal-like structures that dynamically relocated over the nucleoid. Simultaneously, the par2 locus distributed plasmids regularly over the nucleoid. We show here that the dynamic ParA patterns are not simple oscillations. Rather, ParA nucleates and polymerizes in between plasmids. When a ParA assembly reaches a plasmid, the assembly reaction reverses into disassembly. Strikingly, plasmids consistently migrate behind disassembling ParA cytoskeletal structures, suggesting that ParA filaments pull plasmids by depolymerization. The perpetual cycles of ParA assembly and disassembly result in continuous relocation of plasmids, which, on time averaging, results in equidistribution of the plasmids. Mathematical modeling of ParA and plasmid dynamics support these interpretations. Mutational analysis supports a molecular mechanism in which the ParB/parC complex controls ParA filament depolymerization.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ringgaard S, van Zon J, Howard M, Gerdes K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Year: 2009

Volume: 106

Issue: 46

Pages: 19369-19374

ISSN (print): 0027-8424

ISSN (electronic): 1091-6490

Publisher: National Academy of Sciences


DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0908347106


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric