Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Directive segregation is the basis of ColE1 plasmid incompatibility


Incompatibility between ColE1 plasmids in Escherichia coli can be explained by competition for a limited number of replication sites. These sites ensure directive segregation of plasmids to daughter cells on cell division. The number of sites can be more than one only if a linear segregation mechanism is postulated.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Jacob, F., Brenner, S. & Cuzin, F. Cold Spring Harb. Symp. quant. Biol. 28, 329–348 (1963).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Pritchard, R. H., Barth, P. T. & Collins, J. Symp. Soc. gen. Microbiol. 19, 263–297 (1969).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Pritchard, R. H., Chandler, M. G. & Collins, J. Molec. gen. Genet. 138, 143–155 (1975).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Inselburg, J. J. Bact. 119, 478–483 (1974).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Smith, H.R., Humphreys, G.O. & Anderson, E.S. Molec. gen. Genet. 129, 229–242 (1974).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Warren, G. & Sherratt, D.J. Molec. gen. Genet. 151, 197–207 (1977).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Bazaral, M. & Helsinki, D.R. Biochemistry 9, 399–406 (1970).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Cabello, F., Timmis, K. & Cohen, S.N. Nature 259, 285–290 (1976).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Cohen, S. N. & Chang, A. C. Y. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 70, 1293–1297 (1973).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Heffron, F., Sublett, R., Hedges, R. W., Jacob, A. & Falkow, S. J. Bact. 122, 250–256 (1975).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Rodriquez, R. L., Bolivar, F., Goodman, H.M., Boyer, H. W. & Betlach, M. C. Molecular Mechanisms in the Control of Gene Expression (eds Nierlich, D.P., Rutter, W.J. & Fox, C.) 471 (Academic, New York, 1976).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  12. Hershfield, V., Boyer, H. W., Chow, L. & Helinski, D. R. J. Bact. 126, 447–453 (1976).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. So, M., Gill, R. & Falkow, S. Molec. gen. Genet. 142, 239–249 (1976).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Bedbrook, J. R. & Ausubel, F.M. Cell 9, 707–716 (1976).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Collins, J., Yanofsky, S. & Helinski, D. R. Molec. gen. Genet. 167, 21–28 (1978).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Boyer, H. W. & Roulland-Dossaix, D. J. molec. Biol. 41, 459–472 (1969).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Bedbrook, J. R. & Bogorad, L. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 73, 4309–4313 (1977).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bedbrook, J., Lehrach, H. & Ausubel, F. Directive segregation is the basis of ColE1 plasmid incompatibility. Nature 281, 447–452 (1979).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing