The Francis Crick Institute
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The DNA replication initiation protein DnaD recognises a specific strand of the Bacillus subtilis chromosome origin

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 09:28 authored by Charles Winterhalter, Simone Pelliciari, Daniel Stevens, Stepan Fenyk, Elie Marchand, Nora B Cronin, Panos Soultanas, Tiago RD Costa, Aravindan Ilangovan, Heath Murray
Genome replication is a fundamental biological activity shared by all organisms. Chromosomal replication proceeds bidirectionally from origins, requiring the loading of two helicases, one for each replisome. However, the molecular mechanisms underpinning helicase loading at bacterial chromosome origins (oriC) are unclear. Here we investigated the essential DNA replication initiation protein DnaD in the model organism Bacillus subtilis. A set of DnaD residues required for ssDNA binding was identified, and photo-crosslinking revealed that this ssDNA binding region interacts preferentially with one strand of oriC. Biochemical and genetic data support the model that DnaD recognizes a new single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) motif located in oriC, the DnaD Recognition Element (DRE). Considered with single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) imaging of DnaD, we propose that the location of the DRE within oriC orchestrates strand-specific recruitment of helicase during DNA replication initiation. These findings significantly advance our mechanistic understanding of bidirectional replication from a bacterial chromosome origin.