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Gene. 1999 Nov 1;239(2):361-6.

Identification of three merB genes and characterization of a broad-spectrum mercury resistance module encoded by a class II transposon of Bacillus megaterium strain MB1.

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  • 1Japan Science and Technology Corporation, 4-1-8 Honcho, Kawaguchi-shi, Japan.


The complete structure of a broad-spectrum mercury resistance module was shown by sequencing the Gram-positive bacterial transposon TnMERI1 of Bacillus megaterium MB1. The regions encoding organomercury resistance were identified. Upstream of a previously identified organomercurial lyase merB (merB1) region of TnMERI1, a second merR (merR2) and a second merB gene (merB2) were found. These genes constitute a second operon (mer operon 2) following a promoter/operator (P(merR2)) region. A third organomercurial lyase gene (merB3) was found immediately upstream of the mer operon (mer operon 1) followed by a promoter/operator (P(merB3)) region homologous to that of the mer operon 1 (P(merR1)-merR1-merE-like-merT-merP-merA). The complete genetic structure of the mercury resistance module is organized as P(merB3)-merB3-P(merR1)-merR1-merE-like-merT+ ++ -merP-merA-P(merR2)-merR2 -merB2-merB1. The subcloning analysis of these three merB genes showed distinct substrate specificity as different organomercury lyase genes.

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