Biochemical and biophysical research communications

Toward the three-dimensional structure of the Escherichia coli DNA-binding protein H-NS: A CD and fluorescence study.

PMID 11263995


The DNA-binding protein H-NS compacts DNA and acts as a specific transcription factor regulating the expression of various bacterial genes. The small abundant protein binds to curved DNA without apparent sequence specificity and the exact nature of its DNA interaction is still unknown. H-NS lacks any common DNA-binding or oligomerization motif and except for a C-terminal fragment of the protein no high resolution structural information is available today. Since the complete structure of H-NS is of considerable interest for understanding its versatile regulatory features, and in lack of high-resolution data for the complete molecule, we have combined circular dichroism (CD) and fluorescence measurements to collect secondary- and higher-order structural information on H-NS. Comparison of CD analyses of wild type H-NS and functional defective mutants allowed assigning secondary structure elements to the N-terminal oligomerization domain of the protein. Moreover, according to fluorescence energy-transfer data we calculate a 45 A distance between the DNA-binding and the oligomerization domain of H-NS.

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