In Vitro Replication of Cyanobacterial Plasmids from Synechocystis PCC 6803
Little knowledge of DNA replication in cyanobacteria is available. In this study, we report the development and characterization of an in vitro system for studies of replication of the endogenous plasmids from the unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis 6803. This system (fraction III) was isolated at high salt concentrations and partially purified on a heparin-agarose column. DNA polymerases in Synechocystis 6803 appeared to be associated with membranes and could be released by the addition of ammonium sulfate to 20% saturation. DNA synthesis in fraction III was dependent on the addition of cyanobacterial plasmids isolated from the same strain. The in vitro replication products consist mostly of the supercoiled form of the plasmids. Unlike replication of many Escherichia coli plasmids, replication of cyanobacterial plasmids did not require added ATP, was not inhibited by omission of the ribonucleotides, and was insensitive to the RNA polymerase inhibitor rifampicin and the gyrase inhibitor novobiocin, but was inhibited by ethidium bromide. These data suggest that RNA may not be involved in the initiation of replication of cyanobacterial plasmids from Synechocystis 6803. In addition, intermediates of replication have been detected by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Density labeling experiments also indicate that cyanobacterial plasmid synthesis in vitro occurs by a semiconservative replication.