BER Structural Biology and Imaging Resources
Synchrotron, Neutron, and Cryo-EM
U.S. Department of Energy | Office of Science | Office of Biological and Environmental Research

How Proteins Remodel DNA in Bacteria Under Stress

August 29, 2020

Feature Story

The DNA-binding protein HU (shown in shades of blue) and its interaction with DNA (yellow) control the change in architecture of a bacterial chromosome in response to an acidic environment. [Courtesy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory]

When bacteria are put in different environments, they can begin to quickly adapt because the proteins that make up their chromosomes can pack and unpack rapidly, regulating gene expression. In bacteria, the proteins responsible for DNA packing are called HU proteins.

To examine the DNA packing process under various conditions, researchers visualized the interactions between DNA and HU from Escherichia coli at the micro-, meso-, and nanoscales using soft x-ray tomography, small-angle x-ray scattering, and protein crystallography.

Reference
Remesh, S. G., et al. 2020. “Nucleoid Remodeling During Environmental Adaptation Is Regulated by HU-dependent DNA bundling,” Nature Communications 11, 2905, [DOI:10.1038/s41467-020-16724-5]