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J Bacteriol. 1992 Jan; 174(1): 191–199.
PMCID: PMC205695

Genetics of xanthan production in Xanthomonas campestris: the xanA and xanB genes are involved in UDP-glucose and GDP-mannose biosynthesis.


The nucleotide sequence of a 3.4-kb EcoRI-PstI DNA fragment of Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris revealed two open reading frames, which were designated xanA and xanB. The genes xanA and xanB encode proteins of 448 amino acids (molecular weight of 48,919) and 466 amino acids (molecular weight of 50,873), respectively. These genes were identified by analyzing insertion mutants which were known to be involved in xanthan production. Specific tests for the activities of enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of UDP-glucose and GDP-mannose indicated that the xanA gene product was involved in the biosynthesis of both glucose 1-phosphate and mannose 1-phosphate. The deduced amino acid sequence of xanB showed a significant degree of homology (59%) to the phosphomannose isomerase of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of alginate. Moreover, biochemical analysis and complementation experiments with the Escherichia coli manA fragment revealed that xanB encoded a bifunctional enzyme, phosphomannose isomerase-GDP-mannose pyrophosphorylase.

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