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Interlinked Sister Chromosomes Arise in the Absence of Condensin during Fast Replication in B. subtilis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephan Gruber, Dr Jan-Willem Veening, Professor Jeff ErringtonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Condensin-an SMC-kleisin complex is essential for efficient segregation of sister chromatids in eukaryotes [1-4]. In Escherichia coil and Bacillus subtilis, deletion of condensin subunits results in severe growth phenotypes and the accumulation of cells lacking nucleoids [5, 6]. In many other bacteria and under slow growth conditions, however, the reported phenotypes are much milder or virtually absent [7-10]. This raises the question of what role prokaryotic condensin might play during chromosome segregation under various growth conditions. In B. subtilis and Streptococcus pneumoniae, condensin complexes are enriched on the circular chromosome near the single origin of replication by ParB proteins bound to parS sequences [11, 12]. Using conditional alleles of condensin in B. subtilis, we demonstrate that depletion of its activity results in an immediate and severe defect in the partitioning of replication origins. Multiple copies of the chromosome remain unsegregated at or near the origin of replication. Surprisingly, the growth and chromosome segregation defects in rich medium are suppressed by a reduction of replication fork velocity but not by partial inhibition of translation or transcription. Prokaryotic condensin likely prevents the formation of sister DNA interconnections at the replication fork or promotes their resolution behind the fork.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gruber S, Veening JW, Bach J, Blettinger M, Bramkamp M, Errington J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Current Biology

Year: 2014

Volume: 24

Issue: 3

Pages: 293-298

Print publication date: 03/02/2014

Online publication date: 16/01/2014

Acceptance date: 17/12/2013

Date deposited: 02/09/2014

ISSN (print): 0960-9822

ISSN (electronic): 1879-0445

Publisher: Cell Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.049


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Funder referenceFunder name
Max Planck Society
Wellcome Trust
864.12.001Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, Earth and Life Sciences (NWO-ALW)
BR 2915/2-1German Research Foundation (DFG)
098374/Z/12/ZWellcome Trust