Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 224, Issue 1, pp 81–90 | Cite as

The osmZ (bglY) gene encodes the DNA-binding protein H-NS (H1a), a component of the Escherichia coli K12 nucleoid

  • Gerhard May
  • Petra Dersch
  • Martin Haardt
  • Anke Middendorf
  • Erhard Bremer
Article

Summary

A class of trans-acting mutations, which alter the osmoregulated expression of the Escherichia coli proU operon, maps at 27 min on the chromosome in a locus we have called osmZ. Mutations in osmZ are allelic to bglY, pilG and virR, affect gene expression, increase the frequency of the site-specific DNA inversion mediating fimbrial phase variation, stimulate the formation of deletions, and influence in vivo supercoiling of reporter plasmids. We have cloned the osmZ+ gene, mapped it at 1307 kb of the E. coli restriction map, identified its gene product as a 16 kDa protein, and determined the nucleotide sequence of the osmZ+ gene. The deduced amino acid sequence for OsmZ predicts a protein of 137 amino acid residues with a calculated molecular weight of 15 530. The primary sequence of OsmZ is identical to that of H-NS (H1a), a DNA-binding protein that affects DNA topology and is known to be associated with the bacterial nucleoid. Thus, osmZ is the structural gene for the H-NS (H1a) protein. The nucleotide sequence of osmZ is almost identical to that of hns; however, hns was incorrectly located at 6.1 min on the E. coli linkage map. Increased osmZ gene dosage leads to cell filament formation, altered gene expression, and reduced frequency of fimbrial phase variation. Our results suggest that the nucleoid-associated DNA-binding protein H-NS (H1a) plays a critical role in gene expression and in determining the structure of the genetic material.

Key words

Cell morphology DNA topology Gene expression Gene mapping Osmoregulation 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerhard May
    • 1
  • Petra Dersch
    • 1
  • Martin Haardt
    • 1
  • Anke Middendorf
    • 1
  • Erhard Bremer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of KonstanzKonstanzFederal Republic of Germany

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