We report single-DNA-stretching experiments showing that the protein Fis, an abundant bacterial chromosome protein of E. coli, mediates a dramatic DNA condensation to zero length. This condensation occurs abruptly when DNA tension is reduced below a protein-concentration-dependent threshold f*<1pN. Following condensation, reopening under larger forces proceeds via a series of discrete jumps, indicating that Fis is able to stabilize DNA crossings. Our experiments suggest that Fis may play a role in vivo stabilizing the "loop-domain" structure of the bacterial chromosome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)