Publications associated with Single Molecule Spectroscopy of Gene Machines

Assembly, translocation, and activation of XerCD-dif recombination by FtsK translocase analyzed in real-time by FRET and two-color tethered fluorophore motion.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112 (2015) E5133-E5141

PFJ May, P Zawadzki, DJ Sherratt, AN Kapanidis, LK Arciszewska

The FtsK dsDNA translocase functions in bacterial chromosome unlinking by activating XerCD-dif recombination in the replication terminus region. To analyze FtsK assembly and translocation, and the subsequent activation of XerCD-dif recombination, we extended the tethered fluorophore motion technique, using two spectrally distinct fluorophores to monitor two effective lengths along the same tethered DNA molecule. We observed that FtsK assembled stepwise on DNA into a single hexamer, and began translocation rapidly (∼ 0.25 s). Without extruding DNA loops, single FtsK hexamers approached XerCD-dif and resided there for ∼ 0.5 s irrespective of whether XerCD-dif was synapsed or unsynapsed. FtsK then dissociated, rather than reversing. Infrequently, FtsK activated XerCD-dif recombination when it encountered a preformed synaptic complex, and dissociated before the completion of recombination, consistent with each FtsK-XerCD-dif encounter activating only one round of recombination.

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