Advanced search
Start date

Study of structural proteins of the bacterial DNA


Bacteria organize their genetic material in a compact and dynamic structure, the nucleoid. This complex organization of the genetic material is achieved in part by the action of a series of proteins referred to as nucleoid-associated proteins (NAPs). Upon binding, NAPs alter local DNA structure. As the changes in DNA structure driven by NAPs are distinct from those induced by histones in eukaryotic cells, NAPs represent a potential target to control the bacterial growth and offer an alternative to the use of antibiotic. Owing to their effect on DNA structure, NAPs also modulate global gene expression. The role of NAPs in the organization of DNA and gene expression regulation has been investigated in a few bacterial species. In Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica, the NAP H-NS compacts DNA and silences gene expression by bridging adjacent segments of the chromosome. A comparison of the deduced amino acid sequences of H-NS orthologs suggests that these proteins may differ from each other with respect to the oligomerization and DNA binding properties. Nonetheless, the extent to which these structural differences among the H-NS orthologs impacts the way the H-NS orthologs organize DNA and affect gene expression in different bacteria is not clear. This research proposal aims to analyze the structural and functional similarities among H-NS proteins by characterizing a short form of H-NS in the bacterium Bartonella henselae. Additionally, we aim to expand the repertory of potential targets for the bacterial control by studying new NAPs in Burkholderia cenocepacia. Also, a study aiming the identification of synthetic peptides with inhibitory function toward a B. cenocepacia NAP is proposed here. (AU)

Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant:
Articles published in other media outlets (0 total):
More itemsLess items