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PLoS Comput Biol. 2013;9(1):e1002881. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002881. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

Binding of nucleoid-associated protein fis to DNA is regulated by DNA breathing dynamics.

Author information

1
Bioscience Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA.

Abstract

Physicochemical properties of DNA, such as shape, affect protein-DNA recognition. However, the properties of DNA that are most relevant for predicting the binding sites of particular transcription factors (TFs) or classes of TFs have yet to be fully understood. Here, using a model that accurately captures the melting behavior and breathing dynamics (spontaneous local openings of the double helix) of double-stranded DNA, we simulated the dynamics of known binding sites of the TF and nucleoid-associated protein Fis in Escherichia coli. Our study involves simulations of breathing dynamics, analysis of large published in vitro and genomic datasets, and targeted experimental tests of our predictions. Our simulation results and available in vitro binding data indicate a strong correlation between DNA breathing dynamics and Fis binding. Indeed, we can define an average DNA breathing profile that is characteristic of Fis binding sites. This profile is significantly enriched among the identified in vivo E. coli Fis binding sites. To test our understanding of how Fis binding is influenced by DNA breathing dynamics, we designed base-pair substitutions, mismatch, and methylation modifications of DNA regions that are known to interact (or not interact) with Fis. The goal in each case was to make the local DNA breathing dynamics either closer to or farther from the breathing profile characteristic of a strong Fis binding site. For the modified DNA segments, we found that Fis-DNA binding, as assessed by gel-shift assay, changed in accordance with our expectations. We conclude that Fis binding is associated with DNA breathing dynamics, which in turn may be regulated by various nucleotide modifications.

PMID:
23341768
PMCID:
PMC3547798
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002881
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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