DNA adenine methylation is widely used to control many DNA transactions, including replication. In Escherichia coli, methylation serves to silence newly synthesized (hemimethylated) sister origins. SeqA, a protein that binds to hemimethylated DNA, mediates the silencing, and this is necessary to restrict replication to once per cell cycle. The methylation, however, is not essential for replication initiation per se but appeared so when the origins (oriI and oriII) of the two Vibrio cholerae chromosomes were used to drive plasmid replication in E. coli. Here we show that, as in the case of E. coli, methylation is not essential for oriI when it drives chromosomal replication and is needed for once-per-cell-cycle replication in a SeqA-dependent fashion. We found that oriII also needs SeqA for once-per-cell-cycle replication and, additionally, full methylation for efficient initiator binding. The requirement for initiator binding might suffice to make methylation an essential function in V. cholerae. The structure of oriII suggests that it originated from a plasmid, but unlike plasmids, oriII makes use of methylation for once-per-cell-cycle replication, the norm for chromosomal but not plasmid replication
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