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Horizontally Acquired Homologs of Xenogeneic Silencers: Modulators of Gene Expression Encoded by Plasmids, Phages and Genomic Islands

1
Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy, Departamento de Genética Molecular y Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 8331010 Santiago, Chile
2
Departamento de Endocrinología, Facultad de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 8331010 Santiago, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2020, 11(2), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11020142
Received: 5 January 2020 / Revised: 19 January 2020 / Accepted: 20 January 2020 / Published: 29 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomic Islands)
Acquisition of mobile elements by horizontal gene transfer can play a major role in bacterial adaptation and genome evolution by providing traits that contribute to bacterial fitness. However, gaining foreign DNA can also impose significant fitness costs to the host bacteria and can even produce detrimental effects. The efficiency of horizontal acquisition of DNA is thought to be improved by the activity of xenogeneic silencers. These molecules are a functionally related group of proteins that possess affinity for the acquired DNA. Binding of xenogeneic silencers suppresses the otherwise uncontrolled expression of genes from the newly acquired nucleic acid, facilitating their integration to the bacterial regulatory networks. Even when the genes encoding for xenogeneic silencers are part of the core genome, homologs encoded by horizontally acquired elements have also been identified and studied. In this article, we discuss the current knowledge about horizontally acquired xenogeneic silencer homologs, focusing on those encoded by genomic islands, highlighting their distribution and the major traits that allow these proteins to become part of the host regulatory networks. View Full-Text
Keywords: genomic islands; xenogeneic silencers; horizontal gene transfer; transcriptional network; H-NS; MvaT; Lsr2; Rok genomic islands; xenogeneic silencers; horizontal gene transfer; transcriptional network; H-NS; MvaT; Lsr2; Rok
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Piña-Iturbe, A.; Suazo, I.D.; Hoppe-Elsholz, G.; Ulloa-Allendes, D.; González, P.A.; Kalergis, A.M.; Bueno, S.M. Horizontally Acquired Homologs of Xenogeneic Silencers: Modulators of Gene Expression Encoded by Plasmids, Phages and Genomic Islands. Genes 2020, 11, 142.

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