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J Bacteriol. Dec 1995; 177(24): 7131–7140.
PMCID: PMC177592

Structure and organization of plasmid genes required to produce the translation inhibitor microcin C7.


The translation inhibitor microcin C7 (MccC7) is a linear heptapeptide whose N terminus has been replaced by an N-formyl group and whose C terminus has been replaced by the phosphodiester of 5'-adenylic acid and n-aminopropanol (J. I. Guijarro, J. E. González-Pastor, F. Baleux, J. L. San Millán, M. A. Castilla, M. Rico, F. Moreno, and M. Delepierre, J. Biol. Chem. 270:23520-23532, 1995). MccC7 production and immunity determinants lie on a 6.2-kb region of the Escherichia coli plasmid pMccC7. This region was entirely sequenced. It contains six open reading frames, which were shown to be true genes by different complementary approaches. Five genes, mccABCDE, which are transcribed in the same direction, are required to produce mature extracellular microcin. The sixth gene, mccF, adjacent to mccE, is transcribed in the opposite direction and encodes specific self-immunity. Genes mccA to -E constitute an operon transcribed from a promoter (mccp) located upstream of mccA. mccA is 21 nucleotides long and encodes the unmodified heptapeptide (J. E. González-Pastor, J. L. San Millán, and F. Moreno, Nature [London] 369:281, 1994). A comparison of predicted gene polypeptide products with those included in databases shows that an 81-amino-acid stretch of MccB is strikingly homologous to fragments of the same length of proteins ThiF and ChlN from E. coli, HesA from Anabaena sp. strain PCC7120, and UBA1, the ubiquitin-activating enzyme from different eukaryotic species. MccC displays several hydrophobic domains, suggesting a transmembrane location. The carboxyl end of MccE displays 41.2% identity with RimL, a protein required to acetylate the ribosome protein L12 from E. coli. In the absence of the other mcc genes, mccA impairs the growth of host cells, suggesting that unmodified MccA has antibiotic activity. A model for MccC7 biosynthesis, export, and immunity is proposed.

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Selected References

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