SSB as an organizer/mobilizer of genome maintenance complexes

Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. Sep-Oct 2008;43(5):289-318. doi: 10.1080/10409230802341296.


When duplex DNA is altered in almost any way (replicated, recombined, or repaired), single strands of DNA are usually intermediates, and single-stranded DNA binding (SSB) proteins are present. These proteins have often been described as inert, protective DNA coatings. Continuing research is demonstrating a far more complex role of SSB that includes the organization and/or mobilization of all aspects of DNA metabolism. Escherichia coli SSB is now known to interact with at least 14 other proteins that include key components of the elaborate systems involved in every aspect of DNA metabolism. Most, if not all, of these interactions are mediated by the amphipathic C-terminus of SSB. In this review, we summarize the extent of the eubacterial SSB interaction network, describe the energetics of interactions with SSB, and highlight the roles of SSB in the process of recombination. Similar themes to those highlighted in this review are evident in all biological systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Single-Stranded / physiology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / physiology*
  • Genome, Bacterial / physiology*


  • DNA, Single-Stranded
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • SSB protein, E coli