Control of cell division by sex factor F in Escherichia coli. III. Participation of the groES (mopB) gene of the host bacteria.
Cell division of F+ bacteria is coupled to DNA replication of the F plasmid. Two plasmid coded genes, letA (ccdA) and letD (ccdB) are indispensable for this coupling. To investigate bacterial genes that participate in this coupling, we attempted to identify the target of the division inhibitor (the letD gene product) of the F plasmid. Two temperature-sensitive growth defective mutants were screened from bacterial mutants that escaped the letD product growth inhibition that occurs in hosts carrying an FletA mutant. Phage P1-mediated transduction and complementation analysis indicated that the temperature-sensitive mutations are located in the groES (mopB) gene, which is essential for the morphogenesis of several bacteriophages and also for growth of the bacteria. The nucleotide sequence of the promoter region of the gene in which the temperature-sensitive mutations had occurred was virtually identical with that of the groES gene of Escherichia coli; furthermore the sequence of the first five amino acid residues and the overall amino acid composition predicted from the nucleotide sequence of the gene match those of the purified GroES protein. The temperature-sensitive mutants did not allow the propagation of phage lambda at 28 degrees C and formed long filamentous structures without septa at 41 degrees C, as is observed in the case of groES mutants. Growth of the two groES mutants tested was not inhibited by the F plasmid with the letA mutation. These observations suggest to us that the morphogenesis gene groES plays a key role in coupling between replication of the F plasmid and cell division of the host cells.