DNA mimic proteins have DNA-like negative surface charge distributions, and they function by occupying the DNA binding sites of DNA binding proteins to prevent these sites from being accessed by DNA. DNA mimic proteins control the activities of a variety of DNA binding proteins and are involved in a wide range of cellular mechanisms such as chromatin assembly, DNA repair, transcription regulation, and gene recombination. However, the sequences and structures of DNA mimic proteins are diverse, making them difficult to predict by bioinformatic search. To date, only a few DNA mimic proteins have been reported. These DNA mimics were not found by searching for functional motifs in their sequences but were revealed only by structural analysis of their charge distribution. This review highlights the biological roles and structures of 16 reported DNA mimic proteins. We also discuss approaches that might be used to discover new DNA mimic proteins.
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