Promoter islands as a platform for interaction with nucleoid proteins and transcription factors

Yuri A. Purtov, Olga A. Glazunova, Sergey S. Antipov, Viktoria O. Pokusaeva, Eugeny E. Fesenko, Elena V. Preobrazhenskaya, Konstantin S. Shavkunov, Maria N. Tutukina, Viktor I. Lukyanov, Olga N. Ozoline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Seventy-eight promoter islands with an extraordinarily high density of potential promoters have been recently found in the genome of Escherichia coli. It has been shown that RNA polymerase binds internal promoters of these islands and produces short oligonucleotides, while the synthesis of normal mRNAs is suppressed. This quenching may be biologically relevant, as most islands are associated with foreign genes, which expression may deplete cellular resources. However, a molecular mechanism of silencing with the participation of these promoter-rich regions remains obscure. It has been demonstrated that all islands interact with histone-like protein H-NS - a specific sentinel of foreign genes. In this study, we demonstrated the inhibitory effect of H-NS using Δhns mutant of Escherichia coli and showed that deletion of dps, encoding another protein of bacterial nucleoid, tended to decrease rather than increase the amount of island-specific transcripts. This observation precluded consideration of promoter islands as sites for targeted heterochromatization only and a computer search for the binding sites of 53 transcription factors (TFs) revealed six proteins, which may specifically regulate their transcriptional output.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1441006
JournalJournal of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • horizontal gene transfer
  • Promoter islands
  • transcription factor binding sites


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