Cell cycle-dependent organization of a bacterial centromere through multi-layered regulation of the ParABS system.

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The accurate distribution of genetic material is crucial for all organisms. In most bacteria, chromosome segregation is achieved by the ParABS system, in which the ParB-bound parS sequence is actively partitioned by ParA. While this system is highly conserved, its adaptation in organisms with unique lifestyles and its regulation between developmental stages remain largely unexplored. Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus is a predatory bacterium proliferating through polyploid replication and non-binary division inside other bacteria. Our study reveals the subcellular dynamics and multi-layered regulation of the ParABS system, coupled to the cell cycle of B. bacteriovorus. We found that ParA:ParB ratios fluctuate between predation stages, their balance being critical for cell cycle progression. Moreover, the parS chromosomal context in non-replicative cells, combined with ParB depletion at cell division, critically contribute to the unique cell cycle-dependent organization of the centromere in this bacterium, highlighting new levels of complexity in chromosome segregation and cell cycle control.