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Biochimie. 1994;76(10-11):1019-29.

H-NS over-expression induces an artificial stationary phase by silencing global transcription.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Alabama at Birmingham 35294, USA.


Bacteria organize their chromosomes in a complex interwound supercoiled structure called the nucleoid through the action of topoisomerases and a set of small (10-20 kDa) proteins. The two most abundant nucleoid-associated proteins are HU and H-NS. H-NS increases in abundance during stationary phase. Over-expression of HU is well tolerated and compatible with transcription and cell growth. Increasing the concentration of H-NS leads to a rapid silencing of global transcription and produces a growth-arrested state reminiscent of stationary phase. H-NS over-expression also induces a substantial loss of supercoiling in plasmid DNA during the time that transcription is arrested. Comparing the effects of over-expression of these two proteins gives some insight into the differential roles of these proteins in the activity of the chromosome. These observations are interpreted in a model of nucleoid organization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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