Global folding of bacterial chromosome requires the activity of condensins. These highly conserved proteins are involved in various aspects of higher-order chromatin dynamics in a diverse range of organisms. Two distinct superfamilies of condensins have been identified in bacteria. The SMC-ScpAB proteins bear significant homology to eukaryotic condensins and cohesins and are found in most of the presently sequenced bacteria. This review focuses on the MukBEF/MksBEF superfamily, which is broadly distributed across diverse bacteria and is characterized by low sequence conservation. The prototypical member of this superfamily, the Escherichia coli condensin MukBEF, continues to provide critical insights into the mechanism of the proteins. MukBEF acts as a complex molecular machine that assists in chromosome segregation and global organization. The review focuses on the mechanistic analysis of DNA organization by MukBEF with emphasis on its involvement in the formation of chromatin scaffold and plausible other roles in chromosome segregation.
© 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.