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J Bacteriol. Nov 1991; 173(22): 7313–7323.
PMCID: PMC209239

Evidence for two sets of structural genes coding for ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase in Thiobacillus ferrooxidans.


Previously, we reported the cloning of the ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase genes (rbcL1-rbcS1) of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans Fe1 (T. Kusano, K. Sugawara, C. Inoue, and N. Suzuki, Curr. Microbiol. 22:35-41, 1991). With these genes as probes, a second set of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase genes (rbcL2-rbcS2) was identified in the same strain and cloned. rbcL1 and rbcL2 encode the large subunits, and rbcS1 and rbcS2 encode the small subunits. Similar restriction patterns between these gene sets suggested a high level of sequence homology. In fact, sequence analysis showed that a 2.2-kb region, including the entire large and small subunit structural genes, was totally conserved in rbcL1-rbcS1 and rbcL2-rbcS2. The rbcL1 (rbcL2) and rbcS1 (rbcS2) genes were 1,422 and 333 bp in length and encoded 473- and 110-amino-acid proteins, respectively. The genes were separated by a 90-bp spacer sequence and were preceded by possible ribosome-binding sites. The N-terminal amino acid sequences of the subunit proteins, synthesized in Escherichia coli, were determined by Edman degradation and found to agree with the deduced amino acid sequences, except for the N-terminal methionine residue. The transcriptional start site of the rbc genes was determined by primer extension, and the size of the rbc transcript was estimated to be about 2.1 kb, suggestive of the cotranscription of rbcL1-rbcS1 and/or rbcL2-rbcS2 mRNAs. Comparisons of amino acid sequences of both subunits with those of other organisms revealed that the ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase of T. ferrooxidans, a chemoautotrophic bacterium, is phylogenetically closer to the photosynthetic bacterium Chromatium vinosum than to another chemoautotrophic bacterium, Alcaligenes eutrophus.

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