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J Bacteriol. 1996 Jun;178(12):3650-3.

H-NS regulates OmpF expression through micF antisense RNA in Escherichia coli.

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Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, School of Agriculture, Nagoya University, Japan.


H-NS is a major constituent of the Escherichia coli nucleoid. Expression of the major outer membrane proteins, OmpC and OmpF, is influenced by hns mutations such that OmpC expression increases whereas OmpF expression decreases irrespective of the osmolarity of the medium (K. A. Graeme-Cook, G. May, E. Bremer, and C. F. Higgins, Mol. Microbiol. 3:1287-1294, 1989). In this study we show that the effect of an hns::neo mutation on OmpF expression is largely diminished in a deletion mutant carrying the micF gene that encodes the ompF mRNA-specific antisense RNA. In addition, the micF transcript levels in the hns::neo mutation are high compared with transcript levels in wild-type cells. On the basis of these results, we provide evidence for a link between OmpC/OmpF expression and the regulatory function of H-NS. We suggest that H-NS most likely affects OmpC expression directly at the level of transcription, but OmpF expression is indirectly regulated by micF antisense RNA.

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