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Genes 2017, 8(5), 130;

Role of Archaeal HerA Protein in the Biology of the Bacterium Thermus thermophilus

Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Calle Nicolás Cabrera 1, Madrid 28049, Spain
Department of Structure of Macromolecules, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Cantoblanco, Madrid 28049, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: John Jones and Etienne G.J. Danchin
Received: 15 March 2017 / Revised: 21 April 2017 / Accepted: 24 April 2017 / Published: 27 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horizontal Gene Transfer)
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Intense gene flux between prokaryotes result in high percentage of archaeal genes in the genome of the thermophilic bacteria Thermus spp. Among these archaeal genes a homolog to the Sulfolobus spp. HerA protein appears in all of the Thermus spp. strains so far sequenced (HepA). The role of HepA in Thermus thermophilus HB27 has been analyzed using deletion mutants, and its structure resolved at low resolution by electron microscopy. Recombinant HepA shows DNA-dependent ATPase activity and its structure revealed a double ring, conically-shaped hexamer with an upper diameter of 150 Å and a bottom module of 95 Å. A central pore was detected in the structure that ranges from 13 Å at one extreme, to 30 Å at the other. Mutants lacking HepA show defective natural competence and DNA donation capability in a conjugation-like process termed “transjugation”, and also high sensitivity to UV and dramatic sensitivity to high temperatures. These data support that acquisition of an ancestral archaeal HerA has been fundamental for the adaptation of Thermus spp. to high temperatures. View Full-Text
Keywords: HerA; Thermus; DNA repair; transjugation; transformation; lateral gene transfer; hexameric ATPase HerA; Thermus; DNA repair; transjugation; transformation; lateral gene transfer; hexameric ATPase

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Blesa, A.; Quintans, N.G.; Baquedano, I.; Mata, C.P.; Castón, J.R.; Berenguer, J. Role of Archaeal HerA Protein in the Biology of the Bacterium Thermus thermophilus. Genes 2017, 8, 130.

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