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Microbiology. 2011 Jul;157(Pt 7):2012-21. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.047605-0. Epub 2011 Apr 21.

Making heads or tails of the HU proteins in the planctomycete Gemmata obscuriglobus.

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  • 1The University of Queensland, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia.


Gemmata obscuriglobus has a highly condensed nucleoid which is implicated in its resistance to radiation. However, the mechanisms by which such compaction is achieved, and the proteins responsible, are still unknown. Here we have examined the genome of G. obscuriglobus for the presence of proteins homologous to those that have been associated with nucleoid condensation. We found two different proteins homologous to the bacterial nucleoid-associated protein HU, one with an N-terminal and one with a C-terminal extension relative to the amino acid sequence of the HU found in Escherichia coli. Sequence analysis revealed that one of these HU homologues represents a novel type with a high number of prolines in its C-terminal extension, whereas the other one has motifs similar to the N terminus of the HU homologue from the radio-resistant bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans. The occurrence of two such HU homologue proteins with these two different terminal extensions in one organism appears to be unique among the Bacteria.

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