Polarization of the Escherichia coli chromosome. A view from the terminus

Biochimie. 2001 Feb;83(2):161-70. doi: 10.1016/s0300-9084(00)01202-5.


The E. coli chromosome replication arms are polarized by motifs such as RRNAGGGS oligomers, found preferentially on leading strands. Their skew increases regularly from the origin to dif (the site in the center of the terminus where chromosome dimer resolution occurs), to reach a value of 90% near dif. Convergent information indicates that polarization in opposite directions from the dif region controls tightly the activity of dif, probably by orienting mobilization of the terminus at cell division. Another example of polarization is the presence, in the region peripheral to the terminus, of small non-divisible zones whose inversion interferes with spatial separation of sister nucleoids. The two phenomena may contribute to the organization of the Ter macrodomain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs / physiology
  • Binding Sites
  • Chromosome Inversion
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial*
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • DNA, Circular / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Genetic
  • Protein Binding


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Circular
  • Membrane Proteins