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Cell. 1987 Jun 5;49(5):709-17.

The integration host factor of Escherichia coli binds to bent DNA at the origin of replication of the plasmid pSC101.


The integration host factor (IHF) of Escherichia coli is necessary for maintenance of pSC101. The protein binds specifically to the replication origin of the plasmid, in the AT-rich region located immediately adjacent to the left, weak binding site for the plasmid-encoded initiator protein. DNAase I and OH- radical footprinting experiments showed that IHF protects 49 bp of the DNA at the origin region. Methylation protection analyses revealed that IHF contacts purine residues in both the major and minor grooves of the DNA. Electrophoretic analyses showed that IHF binds to bent DNA, and the protein binding further enhances the degree of DNA bending. Site-directed mutagenesis of three of the contact points not only abolished binding of the protein to the DNA but also inactivated the replication origin. Therefore, binding of IHF to the ori sequence most probably is necessary for initiation of plasmid replication.

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