Regulation of replication initiation: Lessons from Caulobacter crescentus

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Chromosome replication is a fundamental process in all domains of life. To accurately transmit genetic material to offspring, the initiation of chromosome replication is tightly regulated to ensure that it occurs only once in each cell division cycle. In the model bacterium Caulobacter crescentus, the CtrA response regulator inhibits the origin of replication at the pre-replication stage. Inactivation of CtrA permits the universal DnaA initiator to form an initiation complex at the origin, leading to replication initiation. Subsequently, the initiation complex is inac-tivated to prevent extra initiation. Whereas DNA replication occurs periodically in exponentially growing cells, replication initiation is blocked under various stress conditions to halt cell cycle progression until the normal condition is restored or the cells adapt to the stress. Thus, regulating the initiation complex plays an important role in not only driving cell cycle progression, but also maintaining cell integrity under stress. Multiple regulatory signaling pathways controlling CtrA and DnaA have been identified and recent studies have advanced our knowledge of the underlying mechanistic and molecular processes. This review focuses on how bacterial cells control replication initiation, highlighting the latest findings that have emerged from studies in C. crescentus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-196
Number of pages14
JournalGenes and Genetic Systems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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