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A family portrait: structural comparison of the Whirly proteins from Arabidopsis thaliana and Solanum tuberosum

Acta Cryst. (2013). F69, 1207–1211 (


Whirly proteins are mainly found in plants, where they localize to chloroplasts or mitochondria. These proteins bind single-stranded DNA with low sequence specificity. In the absence of the chloroplast-directed Whirly proteins, the chloroplast genome becomes unstable and accumulates DNA rearrangements. This article describes the crystal structures of the three Arabidopsis thaliana Whirly proteins. Comparison of these structures to that of a potato Whirly protein reveals strong structural similarity and suggests that all plant Whirly proteins bind single-stranded DNA in a similar manner.

L. Cappadocia, J.-S. Parent, J. Sygusch and N. Brisson