University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology; RNA Therapeutics Institute; Department of Radiology; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

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Article Preprint


Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Microbiology | Nucleic Acids, Nucleotides, and Nucleosides


Argonaute proteins use nucleic acid guides to protect organisms against transposons and viruses. In the eubacterium Thermus thermophilus, the DNA-guided Argonaute TtAgo defends against transformation by DNA plasmids. Here, we report that TtAgo also participates in DNA replication. TtAgo binds small DNA guides derived from the chromosomal region where replication terminates and associates with proteins known to act in DNA replication. T. thermophilus deploys a single type II topoisomerase, gyrase. When gyrase is inhibited, T. thermophilus relies on TtAgo to complete replication of its circular genome; loss of both gyrase and TtAgo activity produces long filaments that fail to separate into individual bacteria. We propose that the primary role of TtAgo is to help T. thermophilus disentangle the catenated circular chromosomes made by DNA replication.


Microbiology, Argonaute Protein, DNA Replication, Thermus thermophilus

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The copyright holder for this preprint (which was not peer-reviewed) is the author/funder. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license.

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bioRxiv 869172; doi: Link to preprint on bioRxiv service.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.