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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Dec 1;88(23):10907-11.

Identification of a cold shock transcriptional enhancer of the Escherichia coli gene encoding nucleoid protein H-NS.

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Department of Biology, University of Camerino, Italy.


The hns (27 min) gene encoding the 15.4-kDa nucleoid protein H-NS was shown to belong to the cold shock regulon of Escherichia coli, its expression being enhanced 3- to 4-fold during the growth lag that follows a shift from 37 degrees C to 10 degrees C. A 110-base-pair (bp) DNA fragment containing the promoter of hns fused to a promoterless cat gene (hns-cat fusion) conferred a similar cold shock response to the expression of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) activity in vivo and in coupled transcription-translation systems prepared with extracts of cold-shocked cells. Extracts of the same cells produce a specific gel shift of the 110-bp DNA fragment and this fragment, immobilized on a solid support, specifically retains a single 7-kDa protein present only in cold-shocked cells that was found to be identical to F10.6 (CS7.4), the product of cspA. This purified protein, which is homologous to human DNA-binding protein YB-1, recognizes some feature of the 110-bp promoter region of hns and acts as a cold shock transcriptional activator of this gene since it stimulates the expression of CAT activity and of cat transcription in in vitro systems programmed with plasmid DNA carrying the hns-cat fusion.

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