Replication-Specific Inactivation of the pT181 Plasmid Initiator Protein

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Replication of the Staphylococcus aureus plasmid pT181, which occurs by the rolling circle mechanism, is accompanied by the covalent attachment of a approximate equal 12-residue oligodeoxynucleotide to one subunit of the dimeric plasmid-coded initiator protein, RepC. This oligonucleotide represents the plasmid sequence immediately 3 prime to the initiating nick site. The resulting heterodimeric protein lacks the topoisomerase and replication activities of unmodified RepC, suggesting that the regulation of plasmid DNA replication requires postreplicational inactivation of the initiator protein as well as control of its synthesis.

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