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Structure of the region of the replication origin of the Bacillus subtilis chromosome


The chromosome of a Gram-positive bacterium, Bacillus subtilis, binds tightly to the cell membrane1–3 probably through a DNA–protein–RNA complex formed specifically near the origin of replication4,5. Characterisation of this complex may reveal the role of the cell surface in regulating the initiation of DNA replication in bacteria. As a first step towards this goal, we have constructed a map of the restriction enzyme cleavage sites at the region of the origin of replication of the B. subtilis chromosome. Adopting the methodology originally used by Marsh and Worcel in Escherichia coli6, the region of the origin of replication of the chromosome was labelled specifically with a radioisotope which was then used to characterise DNA fragments produced by various combinations of restriction enzyme. In the study reported here, cleavage sites by three enzymes were identified within the chromosomal fragment of molecular weight 4×107 at the origin region.

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Seiki, M., Ogasawara, N. & Yoshikawa, H. Structure of the region of the replication origin of the Bacillus subtilis chromosome. Nature 281, 699–701 (1979).

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