Membrane-associated DNA transport machines

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2010 Jul;2(7):a000406. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a000406. Epub 2010 Jun 23.


DNA pumps play important roles in bacteria during cell division and during the transfer of genetic material by conjugation and transformation. The FtsK/SpoIIIE proteins carry out the translocation of double-stranded DNA to ensure complete chromosome segregation during cell division. In contrast, the complex molecular machines that mediate conjugation and genetic transformation drive the transport of single stranded DNA. The transformation machine also processes this internalized DNA and mediates its recombination with the resident chromosome during and after uptake, whereas the conjugation apparatus processes DNA before transfer. This article reviews these three types of DNA pumps, with attention to what is understood of their molecular mechanisms, their energetics and their cellular localizations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Conjugation, Genetic
  • DNA, Bacterial / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial