Relationship between ftsZ gene expression and chromosome replication in Escherichia coli
Helmstetter, Charles E.
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Transcriptional levels within the ftsQAZ region of the Escherichia coli chromosome were correlated with chromosome replication and the division cycle. The transcripts were measured either in synchronous cultures generated by the baby machine technique or in dnaC2(Ts) mutants that had been aligned for initiation of chromosome replication by temperature shifts. Transcription within the ftsZ reading frame was found to fluctuate during the cell cycle, with maximal levels about midcycle and a minimum level at division, in cells growing with a doubling time of 24 min at 37°C. Examination of transcription in dnaC(Ts) mutants aligned for chromosome replication indicated that the periodicity was due to a reduction in transcripts coincident with replication of the ftsQAZ region. Transcription originating upstream of the ftsA gene exhibited the periodicity and accounted for a significant proportion of the transcripts entering ftsZ. The most obvious interpretation of the data is that replication of the region transiently inhibits transcription, but alternative explanations have not been ruled out. However, no other relationship between transcription and either replication or division was detected.