The centromere sequence parC of Escherichia coli low-copy-number plasmid R1 consists of two sets of 11 bp iterated sequences. Here we analysed the intrinsic sequence-directed curvature of parC by its migration anomaly in polyacrylamide gels. The 159 bp long parC is strongly curved with anomaly values (k-factors) close to 2. The properties of the parC curvature agree with those of other curved DNA sequences. parC contains two regions of 5-fold repeated iterons separated by 39 bp. We modified 4 bp within this intermediate sequence so that we could analyse the two 5-fold repeated regions independently. The analysis shows that the two repeat regions are not independently curved parts of parC but that the overall curvature is a property of the whole fragment. Since the centromere sequence of an E.coli plasmid as well as eukaryotic centromere sequences show DNA curvature, we speculate that curvature might be a general property of centromeres.
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