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Summary

LeuO is a quiescent genetic regulator present in many bacteria, which forms part of the H-NS regulon. LeuO in turn has been proposed to activate a subset of genes of the regulon by antagonizing H-NS. In the paper by Dillon et al., binding of LeuO to the S. Typhimurium genome was observed by ChIP-chip to some of the previously described LeuO-regulated genes, upon growth under stress conditions. However, studies at a higher LeuO concentration from a cloned inducible promoter rendered many more binding sites, pointing towards the importance of the abundance of the regulator in the cell, in a given moment. Binding of LeuO was observed not only to intergenic sequences, but in the majority of cases to intragenic sequences, and co-binding was observed with H-NS in many sites and with RNA polymerase to the majority of sites. The authors define a binding motif that allowed the detection of several other LeuO-regulated genes that were not detected by ChIP-chip, which were possibly missed because LeuO binds and bridges distal sites, in those instances. The observations reported open new questions regarding the mode of action for LeuO.