Regulation of Bacterial DNA Packaging in Early Stationary Phase by Competitive DNA Binding of Dps and IHF
Lee, Sin Yi
Lim, Ci Ji
Date of Issue2015-12-14
School of Biological Sciences
The bacterial nucleoid, a bacterial genome packed by nucleoid binding proteins, forms the physical basis for cellular processes such as gene transcription and DNA replication. Bacteria need to dynamically modulate their nucleoid structures at different growth phases and in response to environmental changes. At the nutrients deficient stationary phase, DNA-binding proteins from starved cells (Dps) and Integration host factors (IHF) are the two most abundant nucleoid associated proteins in E. coli. Yet, it remains unclear how the nucleoid architecture is controlled by the interplay between these two proteins, as well as the nucleoid’s response to environmental changes. This question is addressed here using single DNA manipulation approach. Our results reveal that the two proteins are differentially selected for DNA binding, which can be tuned by changing environmental factors over physiological ranges including KCl (50–300 mM), MgCl2 (0–10 mM), pH (6.5–8.5) and temperature (23–37 °C). Increasing pH and MgCl2 concentrations switch from Dps-binding to IHF-binding. Stable Dps-DNA and IHF-DNA complexes are insensitive to temperature changes for the range tested. The environment dependent selection between IHF and Dps results in different physical organizations of DNA. Overall, our findings provide important insights into E. coli nucleoid architecture.
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