Sister chromatid interactions in bacteria revealed by a site-specific recombination assay.

Research paper by Christian C Lesterlin, Emmanuelle E Gigant, Frédéric F Boccard, Olivier O Espéli

Indexed on: 24 Jul '12Published on: 24 Jul '12Published in: The EMBO Journal


The process of Sister Chromosome Cohesion (SCC), which holds together sister chromatids upon replication, is essential for chromosome segregation and DNA repair in eukaryotic cells. Although cohesion at the molecular level has never been described in E. coli, previous studies have reported that sister sequences remain co-localized for a period after their replication. Here, we have developed a new genetic recombination assay that probes the ability of newly replicated chromosome loci to interact physically. We show that Sister Chromatid Interaction (SCI) occurs exclusively within a limited time frame after replication. Importantly, we could differentiate sister cohesion and co-localization since factors such as MatP and MukB that reduced the co-localization of markers had no effect on molecular cohesion. The frequency of sister chromatid interactions were modulated by the activity of Topo-IV, revealing that DNA topology modulates cohesion at the molecular scale in bacteria.