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An H-NS-like Stealth Protein Aids Horizontal DNA Transmission in Bacteria

Science  12 Jan 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5809, pp. 251-252
DOI: 10.1126/science.1137550

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Abstract

The Sfh protein is encoded by self-transmissible plasmids involved in human typhoid and is closely related to the global regulator H-NS. We have found that Sfh provides a stealth function that allows the plasmids to be transmitted to new bacterial hosts with minimal effects on their fitness. Introducing the plasmid without the sfh gene imposes a mild H-NS phenotype and a severe loss of fitness due to titration of the cellular pool of H-NS by the A+T-rich plasmid. This stealth strategy seems to be used widely to aid horizontal DNA transmission and has important implications for bacterial evolution.

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