The HU and IHF Proteins: Accessory Factors for Complex Protein-DNA Assemblies

  • Howard A. Nash


The apparatus required for the regulation of gene expression varies widely in complexity. At one extreme, regulation can be achieved by one or two proteins acting at a DNA locus that encompasses 30–50 bp. However, such a simple picture is not usually (if ever) the whole story. Much more common are complex systems that typically involve several proteins acting over much larger segments of DNA. At these extended loci, one finds that function depends not only on a principal actor and a regulator (e.g., RNA polymerase and a transcriptional activator) but also on additional components. This chapter focuses on two of the best studied of such accessory factors: HU and IHF. We review the structure of these proteins, their influence on DNA conformation and topology, the regulation of their expression, their function in several well-studied systems, and their roles in homeostasis of E. coli. In order to focus on these questions, the present work has not presented all that is known about these proteins. More information can be found in several other surveys.1–6 For reviews of other accessory factors of E. coli—e.g., Fis, H-NS, Crp and Lrp—the reader is directed to chapters 12 and 20 of this volume and to other sources.7–11


Architectural Element Accessory Factor Integration Host Factor Superhelical Density Integration Host Factor Protein 
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© R.G. Landes Company 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard A. Nash

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