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Spatio-temporal control of DNA replication by the pneumococcal cell cycle regulator CcrZ

By Clement Gallay, Stefano Sanselicio, Mary E Anderson, Young Min Soh, Xue Liu, Gro Anita Stamsås, Simone Pelliciari, Renske van Raaphorst, Morten Kjos, Heath Murray, Stephan Gruber, Alan D. Grossman, Jan-Willem Veening

Posted 19 Sep 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/775536

Most bacteria replicate and segregate their DNA concomitantly while growing, before cell division takes place. How bacteria synchronize these different cell cycle events to ensure faithful chromosome inheritance is poorly understood. Here, we identified a conserved and essential protein in pneumococci and related Firmicutes named CcrZ (for Cell Cycle Regulator protein interacting with FtsZ) that couples cell division with DNA replication by controlling the activity of the master initiator of DNA replication, DnaA. The absence of CcrZ causes mis-timed and reduced initiation of DNA replication, which subsequently results in aberrant cell division. We show that CcrZ from Streptococcus pneumoniae directly interacts with the cytoskeleton protein FtsZ to place it in the middle of the newborn cell where the DnaA-bound origin is positioned. Together, this work uncovers a new mechanism for the control of the bacterial cell cycle in which CcrZ controls DnaA activity to ensure that the chromosome is replicated at the right time during the cell cycle.

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