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Purification and characterization of a Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 polypeptide structurally similar to the stress-induced Dps/PexB protein of Escherichia coli

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A stable DNA/protein complex having an apparent molecular mass of approximately 150kDa was purified from nitrate-limited cultures of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942. Amino-terminal peptide sequencing indicated that the polypeptide was structurally similar to the Dps protein of Escherichia coli; Dps is also known as the product of the starvation- and stationary-phase-inducible gene, pexB. The 150-kDa complex dissociated into a 22-kDa protein monomer after boiling in 2% SDS. The 150-kDa complex preparation had approximately a 10% nucleic acid content and upon dissociation released DNA fragments that were sensitive to S1 nuclease digestion. Immunoblot data indicated that the complex accumulates during stationary phase and during nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus limitation. DNA-binding assays indicated that the protein nonspecifically binds both linear and supercoiled DNA. Circular dichroism spectroscopy revealed that the Synechococcus sp. Dps-like protein contains extensive regions of alpha-helical secondary structure. We propose that the 150-kDa complex represents a hexameric aggregate of the Dps-like protein complexed with single-stranded DNA and serves to bind a portion of the chromosomal DNA under nutrient-limited conditions.

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Correspondence to George S. Bullerjahn.

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Peña, M.M.O., Burkhart, W. & Bullerjahn, G.S. Purification and characterization of a Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 polypeptide structurally similar to the stress-induced Dps/PexB protein of Escherichia coli . Arch. Microbiol. 163, 337–344 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00404206

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Key words

  • Cyanobacteria
  • Nutrient stress
  • Stationary phase
  • Dps protein
  • DNA-protein complex
  • Synechococcus sp.