Super-resolution imaging reveals changes in Escherichia coli SSB localization in response to DNA damage

Tianyu Zhao, Yan Liu, Zilin Wang, Rongyan He, Jia Xiang Zhang, Feng Xu, Ming Lei, Michael B. Deci, Juliane Nguyen, Piero R. Bianco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The E. coli single-stranded DNA-binding protein (SSB) is essential to viability. It plays key roles in DNA metabolism where it binds to nascent single strands of DNA and to target proteins known as the SSB interactome. There are >2,000 tetramers of SSB per cell with 100–150 associated with the genome at any one time, either at DNA replication forks or at sites of repair. The remaining 1,900 tetramers could constantly diffuse throughout the cytosol or be associated with the inner membrane as observed for other DNA metabolic enzymes. To visualize SSB localization and to ascertain potential spatiotemporal changes in response to DNA damage, SSB-GFP chimeras were visualized using a novel, super-resolution microscope optimized for the study of prokaryotic cells. In the absence of DNA damage, SSB localizes to a small number of foci and the excess protein is associated with the inner membrane where it binds to the major phospholipids. Within five minutes following DNA damage, the vast majority of SSB disengages from the membrane and is found almost exclusively in the cell interior. Here, it is observed in a large number of foci, in discreet structures or, in diffuse form spread over the genome, thereby enabling repair events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)814-826
Number of pages13
JournalGenes to Cells
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA repair
  • DNA replication
  • E. coli
  • OB-fold
  • SSB interactome
  • single-strand DNA-binding protein
  • super-resolution microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Super-resolution imaging reveals changes in Escherichia coli SSB localization in response to DNA damage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this