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Mycoplasma gallisepticum Produces a Histone-like Protein That Recognizes Base Mismatches in DNA

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journal contribution
posted on 11.10.2011, 00:00 by Dmitri Kamashev, Jacques Oberto, Marina Serebryakova, Alexey Gorbachev, Yulia Zhukova, Sergei Levitskii, Alexey K. Mazur, Vadim Govorun
Mycoplasmas are the smallest known microorganisms, with drastically reduced genome sizes. One of the essential biochemical pathways lost in mycoplasmas is methylation-mediated DNA repair (MMR), which is responsible for correction of base substitutions, insertions, and deletions in both bacteria and higher organisms. We found that the histone-like protein encoded by the himA/hup_2 gene of Mycoplasma gallisepticum (mgHU) recognizes typical MMR substrates, in contrast to homologues from other species. The recognition of substitution mismatches is sequence-dependent, with affinities decreasing in the following order: CC > CT = TT > AA = AC. Insertions or deletions of one nucleotide are also specifically recognized with the following sequence-dependent preference: A = T > C. One-nucleotide lesions involving guanine are bound only weakly, and this binding is indistinguishable from binding to intact DNA. Although mgHU is dissimilar to Escherichia coli HU, expression in a slow-growing hupAB E. coli strain restores wild-type growth. The results indicate that mgHU executes all essential functions of bacterial architectural proteins. The origin and the possible role of enhanced specificity for typical MMR substrates are discussed.