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Bacteriophage ø29 protein p6: an architectural protein involved in genome organization, replication and control of transcription

AuthorsGonzález-Huici, Víctor; Salas, Margarita ; Hermoso, José Miguel
KeywordsB. subtilis phage
Nucleoid-associated protein
DNA–protein interaction
Protein–protein interaction
Issue Date2004
CitationJournal of Molecular Recognition 17: 390–396 (2004)
AbstractProtein p6 of B. subtilis bacteriophage Ø29 binds to DNA forming a nucleoprotein complex in which the DNA wraps a protein core forming a right-handed superhelix, therefore restraining positive supercoiling and compacting the DNA. The protein does not specifically recognize a nucleotide sequence but rather a structural feature and it binds as a dimer through the minor groove. Protein p6 is in a monomer–dimer equilibrium that shifts to higher-order structures at a concentration of about 1 mM. These structures are probably present in vivo as the intracellular concentration of p6 is estimated to be in this range, and in fact the effective concentration should be still higher due to the macromolecular crowding. The p6 oligomers show an elongated shape compatible with a helical structure reminiscent of the superhelical DNA of the nucleoprotein complex, therefore it was proposed that protein p6 forms a scaffold on which the DNA folds. Since protein p6 is very abundant in infected cells, enough to bind the entire viral progeny, it was proposed to have an architectural role organizing and compacting the viral genome. It has been demonstrated that protein p6 binds in vivo to most, if not all, the Ø29 genome, although with different affinity, the highest one corresponding to the genome ends. Binding to plasmidic DNA was much lower, although it increased dramatically when the negative superhelicity was decreased. Hence, protein p6 binding specificity for Ø29 DNA is based on supercoiling, providing that the Ø29 genome, although topologically constrained, has a negative superhelicity lower than that of plasmid DNA. The formation of the nucleoprotein complex has functional implications in DNA replication and the control of transcription. It activates the initiation of replication that occurs at the genome ends for which the binding affinity is highest. It represses early transcription from promoter C2, and, together with protein p4, it represses transcription from promoters A2b and A2c and activates late transcription from promoter A3; therefore, protein p6 is involved in the early to late transcription switch.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmr.70
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