The Hha/YmoA family of proteins is a group of conserved, low-molecular-weight proteins involved in the regulation of gene expression. Studies performed in Escherichia coli, Salmonella sp. and Yersinia sp. highlight the contribution of these proteins in regulating bacterial virulence, horizontal gene transfer and cell physiology. Genes encoding such proteins are located on chromosomes and plasmids in different genera of Gram-negative bacteria. Their mode of action is currently being analysed by studying direct binding of Hha to DNA and as a component of protein complexes with regulatory functions. Recent data on the interaction of Hha with the H-NS family of proteins and structural information suggest a physiological role for such protein complexes in many aspects of gene regulation.