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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Dec;34(5):953-64.

A DNA architectural protein couples cellular physiology and DNA topology in Escherichia coli.

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Institut für Genetik und Mikrobiologie, LMU München, Maria-Ward-Str. 1a, 80638 München, Germany.


In Escherichia coli, the transcriptional activity of many promoters is strongly dependent on the negative superhelical density of chromosomal DNA. This, in turn, varies with the growth phase, and is correlated with the overall activity of DNA gyrase, the major topoisomerase involved in the elevation of negative superhelicity. The DNA architectural protein FIS is a regulator of the metabolic reorganization of the cell during early exponential growth phase. We have previously shown that FIS modulates the superhelical density of plasmid DNA in vivo, and on binding reshapes the supercoiled DNA in vitro. Here, we show that, in addition, FIS represses the gyrA and gyrB promoters and reduces DNA gyrase activity. Our results indicate that FIS determines DNA topology both by regulation of topoisomerase activity and, as previously inferred, by directly reshaping DNA. We propose that FIS is involved in coupling cellular physiology to the topology of the bacterial chromosome.

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