Date of Award

Spring 1999

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 1999 Nathaniel Hanson. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Biology Department

First Advisor

Tami Mysliwiec


Spo0J, a ParB family chromosome partitioning protein in Bacillus subtilis, contains a putative helix-turn-helix motif which may mediate DNA binding. Recent research has identified eight 16-bp parS binding sites of Spo0J near the origin of the chromosome, and in actively dividing cells Spo0J colocalizes with this region of the chromosome towards each pole of the cell. Here we tested the importance of the putative HTH region of Spo0J to its specific parS binding activity by creating a series of specific mutant proteins. Two conserved amino acids, shown to be essential for HTH DNA binding in other proteins, were changed, and regions of the HTH motif were deleted. Conservative changes to the HTH region decreased Spo0J binding to parS, and increased non-specific binding, and total deletion of the region destroyed specific and non-specific DNA binding.