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The Bacterial Chromatin Protein HupA Can Remodel DNA and Associates with the Nucleoid in Clostridium difficile

Oliveira Paiva, Ana M., Friggen, Annemieke H., Qin, Liang, Douwes, Roxanne, Dame, Remus T., Smits, Wiep Klaas
Journal of molecular biology 2019 v.431 no.4 pp. 653-672
Clostridium difficile, DNA, Escherichia coli, bacteria, chromatin, metabolism
The maintenance and organization of the chromosome plays an important role in the development and survival of bacteria. Bacterial chromatin proteins are architectural proteins that bind DNA and modulate its conformation, and by doing so affect a variety of cellular processes. No bacterial chromatin proteins of Clostridium difficile have been characterized to date.Here, we investigate aspects of the C. difficile HupA protein, a homologue of the histone-like HU proteins of Escherichia coli. HupA is a 10-kDa protein that is present as a homodimer in vitro and self-interacts in vivo. HupA co-localizes with the nucleoid of C. difficile. It binds to the DNA without a preference for the DNA G + C content. Upon DNA binding, HupA induces a conformational change in the substrate DNA in vitro and leads to compaction of the chromosome in vivo.The present study is the first to characterize a bacterial chromatin protein in C. difficile and opens the way to study the role of chromosomal organization in DNA metabolism and on other cellular processes in this organism.