Permissive zones for the centromere-binding protein ParB on the Caulobacter crescentus chromosome

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Proper chromosome segregation is essential in all living organisms. In Caulobacter crescentus, the ParA-ParB-parS system is required for proper chromosome segregation and cell viability. The bacterial centromere-like parS DNA locus is the first to be segregated following chromosome replication. parS is bound by ParB protein, which in turn interacts with ParA to partition the ParB-parS nucleoprotein complex to each daughter cell. Here, we investigated the genome-wide distribution of ParB on the Caulobacter chromosome using a combination of in vivo chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP-seq) and in vitro DNA affinity purification with deep sequencing (IDAP-seq). We confirmed two previously identified parS sites and discovered at least three more sites that cluster ~8 kb from the origin of replication. We showed that Caulobacter ParB nucleates at parS sites and associates non-specifically with ~10 kb flanking DNA to form a high-order nucleoprotein complex on the left chromosomal arm. Lastly, using transposon mutagenesis coupled with deep sequencing (Tn-seq), we identified a ~500 kb region surrounding the native parS cluster that is tolerable to the insertion of a second parS cluster without severely affecting cell viability. Our results demonstrate that the genomic distribution of parS sites is highly restricted and is crucial for chromosome segregation in Caulobacter.&nbsp