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J Bacteriol. 1987 Mar;169(3):1223-31.

Hexuronate catabolism in Erwinia chrysanthemi.


In the phytopathogenic enterobacterium Erwinia chrysanthemi, the catabolism of hexuronates is linked to the degradation of pectic polymers. We isolated Mu lac insertions in each gene of the hexuronate pathway and used genetic fusions with lacZ (the beta-galactosidase gene of Escherichia coli) to study the regulation of this pathway. Three independent regulatory genes (exuR, uxuR, and kdgR) were found. Galacturonate and glucuronate were converted into 2-keto-3-deoxygluconate (KDG) by separate three-step pathways encoded by the uxaC, uxaB, and uxaA genes and the uxaC, uxuB, and uxuA genes, respectively. The two aldohexuronates entered the cell by a specific transport system, encoded by exuT. Wild-type strain 3937 was unable to use glucuronate as a carbon source since glucuronate was unable to induce the exuT expression. Mutants able to use glucuronate possessed an inactivated exuR gene. The product of the regulatory gene exuR negatively controlled the expression of exuT, uxaC, uxaB, and uxaA, which was inducible in the presence of galacturonate. The two genes specifically involved in glucuronate catabolism, uxuA and uxuB, formed two independent transcriptional units regulated separately, uxuB expression was not inducible, whereas uxuA expression was induced in the presence of glucuronate and controlled by the uxuR product. KDG, the common end product of both pathways, is cleaved by the kdgK and kdgA gene products. KDG enters the cell by a specific transport system, encoded by kdgT. The regulatory gene kdgR controlled the expression of kdgT, kdgK, and kdgA and partially that of the pel genes encoding pectate-lyases. The real inducer of pectate-lyase synthesis, originating from catabolism of galacturonate or glucuronate, appeared to be KDG. The genes of E. chrysanthemi affecting hexuronate catabolism are separated into six independent transcriptional units exuT, uxaCBA, uxuA, uxuB, kdgK, and kdgA, but only three gene clusters were localized on the genetic map: exuT-uxaCBA, uxuA-uxuB-kdgK, and kdgA-exuR.

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