PROSITE documentation PDOC00645
Dps protein family signatures


Escherichia coli protein dps [1] is a DNA-binding protein, synthesized during prolonged starvation, that seems to protect DNA from oxidative damage. Dps binds DNA without any apparent sequence specificity. It is a protein of about 19 Kd that associates into a complex of 12 subunits forming two stacked hexameric rings.

Proteins similar to dps have been found in other bacteria:

  • Bacillus subtilis protein mrgA.
  • Antigen TpF1/TyF1 from Treponema pallidum and pertenue.
  • Haemophilus ducreyi fine tangled pili major subunit (gene ftpA).
  • Helicobacter pylori neutrophil-activating protein A (gene napA).
  • Listeria innocua non-heme iron-containing ferritin.
  • Synechococcus PCC 7942 nutrient-stress induced DNA binding protein (gene dpsA).
  • A low-temperature induced protein from Anabaena variabilis.
  • Haemophilus influenzae hypothetical protein HI1349.
  • Synechocystis strain PCC 6803 hypothetical protein slr1894.
  • A hypothetical protein encoded in the 5' region of a gene coding for a bromoperoxidase, in plasmid pOP2621 of Streptomyces aureofaciens.

All these proteins share a conserved region of about 50 residues in their central region. We have developed two signature patterns derived from both extremities of that region.


There seems [2] to be a structural similarity between this family and that of eukaryotic ferritins (see <PDOC00181>).

Last update:

July 1998 / Patterns and text revised.


Technical section

PROSITE methods (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

DPS_1, PS00818; Dps protein family signature 1  (PATTERN)

DPS_2, PS00819; Dps protein family signature 2  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsAlmiron M. Link A.J. Furlong D. Kolter R.
TitleA novel DNA-binding protein with regulatory and protective roles in starved Escherichia coli.
SourceGenes Dev. 6:2646-2654(1992).
PubMed ID1340475

2AuthorsBozzi M. Mignogna G. Stefanini S. Barra D. Longhi C. Valenti P. Chiancone E.
TitleA novel non-heme iron-binding ferritin related to the DNA-binding proteins of the Dps family in Listeria innocua.
SourceJ. Biol. Chem. 272:3259-3265(1997).
PubMed ID9013563

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