More than 50 years have passed since the presentation of the Replicon Model which states that a positively acting initiator interacts with a specific site on a circular chromosome molecule to initiate DNA replication. Since then, the origin of chromosome replication, oriC, has been determined as a specific region that carries sequences required for binding of positively acting initiator proteins, DnaA-boxes and DnaA proteins, respectively. In this review we will give a historical overview of significant findings which have led to the very detailed knowledge we now possess about the initiation process in bacteria using Escherichia coli as the model organism, but emphasizing that virtually all bacteria have DnaA proteins that interacts with DnaA boxes to initiate chromosome replication. We will discuss the dnaA gene regulation, the special features of the dnaA gene expression, promoter strength, and translation efficiency, as well as, the DnaA protein, its concentration, its binding to DnaA-boxes, and its binding of ATP or ADP. Furthermore, we will discuss the different models for regulation of initiation which have been proposed over the years, with particular emphasis on the Initiator Titration Model.
Keywords: DnaA ADP/ATP; DnaA box; DnaA protein; cell cycle; dnaA gene; initiation control models; initiator titration; oriC.