The initiation of bacterial chromosomal replication is regulated by multiple pathways. To explore novel regulators, we isolated multicopy suppressors for the cold-sensitive hda-185 ΔsfiA(sulA) mutant. Hda is crucial for the negative regulation of the initiator DnaA and the hda-185 mutation causes severe replication overinitiation at the replication origin oriC. The SOS-associated division inhibitor SfiA inhibits FtsZ ring formation, an essential step for cell division regulation during the SOS response, and ΔsfiA enhances the cold sensitivity of hda-185 cells in colony formation. One of the suppressors comprised the yfdQ-yfdR-yfdS-yfdT gene cluster carried on a cryptic prophage. Increased copy numbers of yfdQRT or yfdQRS inhibited not only hda-185-dependent overinitiation, but also replication overinitiation in a hyperactive dnaA mutant, and in a mutant lacking an oriC-binding initiation-inhibitor SeqA. In addition, increasing the copy number of the gene set inhibited the growth of cells bearing specific, initiation-impairing dnaA mutations. In wild-type cells, multicopy supply of yfdQRT or yfdQRS also inhibited replication initiation and increased hydroxyurea (HU)-resistance, as seen in cells lacking DiaA, a stimulator of DnaA assembly on oriC. Deletion of the yfdQ-yfdR-yfdS-yfdT genes did not affect either HU resistance or initiation regulation. Furthermore, we found that DnaA bound specifically to YfdR in soluble protein extracts oversupplied with YfdQRST. Purified YfdR also bound to DnaA, and DnaA Phe46, an amino acid residue crucial for DnaA interactions with DiaA and DnaB replicative helicase was important for this interaction. Consistently, YfdR moderately inhibited DiaA-DnaA and DnaB-DnaA interactions. In addition, protein extracts oversupplied with YfdQRST inhibited replication initiation in vitro. Given the roles of yfdQ and yfdS in cell tolerance to specific environmental stresses, the yfdQ-yfdR-yfdS-yfdT genes might downregulate the initiator DnaA-oriC complex under specific growth conditions.
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