Structure and function of DnaA and the DnaA-box in eubacteria: evolutionary relationships of bacterial replication origins



DnaA protein (a trans-acting element) and its binding sequence, DnaA-box: (a cis-acting element) are two elements essential for the initiation of chromosomal replication in Escherichia coli and other enteric bacteria. Recently these two elements have been found to be conserved in three Gram-positive bacteria (Bacillus subtilis, Micrococcus luteus and Mycoplasma capricolum) as well as in Gram-negative pseudomonads. DnaA protein was also found to be essential in the initiation of the replication of the B. subtilis chromosome, and regions containing multiple repeats of DnaA-box (DnaA-box region) are found to be active as autonomously replicating elements both in B. subtilis and pseudomonads. In this MicroReview we compare first the structures of these DnaA-box regions and their locations on the chromosome and then functional aspects of DnaA protein and DnaA-box regions in the initiation and regulation of chromosomal replication. From these observations we propose evolutionary relationships between replication origins of eubacteria.