H-NS mediates the silencing of laterally acquired genes in bacteria

Lucchini, S., Rowley, G., Goldberg, M.D., Hurd, D., Harrison, M. and Hinton, J.C. (2006) H-NS mediates the silencing of laterally acquired genes in bacteria. PLoS Pathogens, 2 (8). ISSN 1553-7366

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Abstract

Histone-like nucleoid structuring protein (H-NS) is a modular protein that is associated with the bacterial nucleoid. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation to determine the binding sites of H-NS and RNA polymerase on the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium chromosome. We found that H-NS does not bind to actively transcribed genes and does not co-localize with RNA polymerase. This shows that H-NS principally silences gene expression by restricting the access of RNA polymerase to the DNA. H-NS had previously been shown to preferentially bind to curved DNA in vitro. In fact, at the genomic level we discovered that the level of H-NS binding correlates better with the AT-content of DNA. This is likely to have evolutionary consequences because we show that H-NS binds to many Salmonella genes acquired by lateral gene transfer, and functions as a gene silencer. The removal of H-NS from the cell causes un-controlled expression of several Salmonella pathogenicity islands, and we demonstrate that this has deleterious consequences for bacterial fitness. Our discovery of this novel role for H-NS may have implications for the acquisition of foreign genes by enteric bacteria.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2006 Lucchini et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Molecular Microbiology
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Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2010 14:38
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 06:14
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/1471
DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.0020081

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