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Analyzing DNA strand compositional asymmetry to identify candidate replication origins of Borrelia burgdorferi linear and circular plasmids.

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Abstract

The
Lyme disease agent Borrelia burgdorferi has a genome composed of a linear chromosome and a series of linear and circular plasmids. We previously mapped the oriC of the linear chromosome to the center of the molecule, where a pronounced switch in CG skew occurs. In this study, we analyzed B. burgdorferi plasmid sequences for AT and CG skew in an effort to similarly identify plasmid replication origins. Cumulative skew diagrams of the plasmids suggested that they, like the linear chromosome, replicate bidirectionally from an internal origin. The B. burgdorferi linear chromosome contains homologs to partitioning protein genes soj and spoOJ, which are closely linked to oriC at the minimum cumulative skew point of the 1-Mb molecule. A soj/parA homolog also maps to cumulative skew minima of the B. burgdorferi linear and circular plasmids, further suggesting that these regions contain the replication origin. The heterogeneity in these genes and in the nucleotide sequences of the putative origin regions could account for the mutual compatibility of the multiple DNA elements in B. burgdorferi.

Genome Res. 2000 Oct;10(10):1594-604. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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