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Non-random segregation of sister chromosomes in Escherichia coli


It has long been known that the 5′ to 3′ polarity of DNA synthesis results in both a leading and lagging strand at all replication forks1. Until now, however, there has been no evidence that leading or lagging strands are spatially organized in any way within a cell. Here we show that chromosome segregation in Escherichia coli is not random but is driven in a manner that results in the leading and lagging strands being addressed to particular cellular destinations. These destinations are consistent with the known patterns of chromosome segregation2,3. Our work demonstrates a new level of organization relating to the replication and segregation of the E. coli chromosome.

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Figure 1: Distinguishing leading and lagging strands.
Figure 2: Visualization of construct.
Figure 3: Construct degradation and localization.
Figure 4: Induction of SbcCD in cephalexin-induced filaments.


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We thank D. Sherratt for the gifts of plasmids pWX6, pLau43 and pLau44. We also thank E. Darmon and J. Blackwood for reading the manuscript. This work was supported by the Medical Research Council.

Author Contributions M.A.W. and D.R.F.L. conceived and designed the experiments; M.A.W. constructed all strains and plasmids apart from pDL1625, pDL1709 and pDL2542, which were constructed by J.K.E., E.W. and M.A.L.-V., respectively; M.A.W. performed the experiments; M.A.W. and D.R.F.L. analysed the data and wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to David R. F. Leach.

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White, M., Eykelenboom, J., Lopez-Vernaza, M. et al. Non-random segregation of sister chromosomes in Escherichia coli. Nature 455, 1248–1250 (2008).

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