In slow-growing Escherichia coli cells the chromosome is organized with its left (L) and right (R) arms lying separated in opposite halves of the nucleoid and with the origin (0) in-between, giving the pattern L-O-R. During replication one of the arms has to pass the other to obtain the same organization in the daughter cells: L-O-R L-O-R. To determine the movement of arms during segregation six strains were constructed carrying three colored loci: the left and right arms were labeled with red and cyan fluorescent-proteins, respectively, on loci symmetrically positioned at different distances from the central origin, which was labeled with green-fluorescent protein. In non-replicating cells with the predominant spot pattern L-O-R, initiation of replication first resulted in a L-O-O-R pattern, soon changing to O-L-R-O. After replication of the arms the predominant spot patterns were, L-O-R L-O-R, O-R-L R-O-L or O-L-R L-O-R indicating that one or both arms passed an origin and the other arm. To study the driving force for these movements cell growth was inhibited with rifampicin allowing run-off DNA synthesis. Similar spot patterns were obtained in growing and non-growing cells, indicating that the movement of arms is not a growth-sustained process, but may result from DNA synthesis itself. The distances between loci on different arms (LR-distances) and between duplicated loci (LL- or RR-distances) as a function of their distance from the origin, indicate that in slow-growing cells DNA is organized according to the so-called sausage model and not according to the doughnut model.
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- Escherichia coli
- DNA segregation
- Chromosome arms (replichores)
- Ordering pattern
- Run-off DNA synthesis