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EMBO J. Dec 1, 1998; 17(23): 7139–7148.
PMCID: PMC1171060

ATP-dependent aggregation of single-stranded DNA by a bacterial SMC homodimer.

Abstract

SMC (structural maintenance of chromosomes) proteins are putative ATPases that are highly conserved among Bacteria, Archaea and Eucarya. Eukaryotic SMC proteins are implicated in a diverse range of chromosome dynamics including chromosome condensation, dosage compensation and recombinational repair. In eukaryotes, two different SMC proteins form a heterodimer, which in turn acts as the core component of a large protein complex. Despite recent progress, no ATP-dependent activity has been found in individual SMC subunits. We report here the first biochemical characterization of a bacterial SMC protein from Bacillus subtilis. Unlike eukaryotic versions, the B.subtilis SMC protein (BsSMC) is a simple homodimer with no associated subunits. It binds preferentially to single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and has a ssDNA-stimulated ATPase activity. In the presence of ATP, BsSMC forms large nucleoprotein aggregates in a ssDNA-specific manner. Proteolytic cleavage of BsSMC is changed upon binding to ATP and ssDNA. The energy-dependent aggregation of ssDNA might represent a primitive type of chromosome condensation that occurs during segregation of bacterial chromosomes.

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Selected References

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