Send to

Choose Destination
J Bacteriol. 2011 Sep;193(18):4881-92. doi: 10.1128/JB.05198-11. Epub 2011 Jul 15.

The 5.5 protein of phage T7 inhibits H-NS through interactions with the central oligomerization domain.

Author information

Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A8 Canada.


The 5.5 protein (T7p32) of coliphage T7 (5.5(T7)) was shown to bind and inhibit gene silencing by the nucleoid-associated protein H-NS, but the mechanism by which it acts was not understood. The 5.5(T7) protein is insoluble when expressed in Escherichia coli, but we find that 5.5(T7) can be isolated in a soluble form when coexpressed with a truncated version of H-NS followed by subsequent disruption of the complex during anion-exchange chromatography. Association studies reveal that 5.5(T7) binds a region of H-NS (residues 60 to 80) recently found to contain a distinct domain necessary for higher-order H-NS oligomerization. Accordingly, we find that purified 5.5(T7) can disrupt higher-order H-NS-DNA complexes in vitro but does not abolish DNA binding by H-NS per se. Homologues of the 5.5(T7) protein are found exclusively among members of the Autographivirinae that infect enteric bacteria, and despite fairly low sequence conservation, the H-NS binding properties of these proteins are largely conserved. Unexpectedly, we find that the 5.5(T7) protein copurifies with heterogeneous low-molecular-weight RNA, likely tRNA, through several chromatography steps and that this interaction does not require the DNA binding domain of H-NS. The 5.5 proteins utilize a previously undescribed mechanism of H-NS antagonism that further highlights the critical importance that higher-order oligomerization plays in H-NS-mediated gene repression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center