Recruitment of SMC by ParB-parS organizes the origin region and promotes efficient chromosome segregation

Cell. 2009 May 15;137(4):697-707. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.04.044.


Organization and segregation of replicated chromosomes are essential processes during cell division in all organisms. Similar to eukaryotes, bacteria possess centromere-like DNA sequences (parS) that cluster at the origin of replication and the structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) complexes for faithful chromosome segregation. In Bacillus subtilis, parS sites are bound by the partitioning protein Spo0J (ParB), and we show here that Spo0J recruits the SMC complex to the origin. We demonstrate that the SMC complex colocalizes with Spo0J at the origin and that insertion of parS sites near the replication terminus targets SMC to this position leading to defects in chromosome organization and segregation. Consistent with these findings, the subcellular localization of the SMC complex is disrupted in the absence of Spo0J or the parS sites. We propose a model in which recruitment of SMC to the origin by Spo0J-parS organizes the origin region and promotes efficient chromosome segregation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / chemistry
  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics
  • Bacillus subtilis / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Replication Origin*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • SMC protein, Bacteria
  • spore-specific proteins, Bacillus