In Bacteria and Eukarya, ssDNA-binding proteins are central to most aspects of DNA metabolism. Until recently, however, no counterpart of an ssDNA-binding protein had been identified in the third domain of life, Archaea. Here, we report the discovery of a novel type of ssDNA-binding protein in the genomes of several archaeons. These proteins, in contrast to all known members of this protein family, possess four conserved DNA-binding sites within a single polypeptide or, in one case, two polypeptides. This peculiar structural organization allows us to propose a model for the evolution of this class of proteins. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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