Caister Academic Press

Molecular Machinery for DNA Translocation in Bacterial Conjugation

Silvia Russi, Roeland Boer and Miquel Coll
from: Plasmids: Current Research and Future Trends (Edited by: Georg Lipps). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2008)


Whatever the route used, horizontal transfer of DNA requires elaborated multi-protein machinery to enable the long and charged nucleic acid polymer to cross the cell envelope barriers. The best-studied system for cell-to-cell DNA translocation is bacterial conjugation. This system can be divided in two discrete specialized modules: the relaxosome, which triggers and takes part in plasmid DNA processing and replication, and a type IV secretion system (T4SS), which impels protein and single-stranded DNA through the membranes. In addition, a coupling protein (CP), linking both modules, and a number of ancillary proteins are needed. Over the last decades research efforts in the field have resulted in the clarification of many aspects of this system and its machinery assembly. In particular, structural biology has provided details of the molecular architecture of several of the pieces involved in this intricate scenario read more ...
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