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J Mol Microbiol Biotechnol. 2001 Jan;3(1):113-22.

Organisation and evolution of the tol-pal gene cluster.

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Laboratoire d'Ingénierie des Systèmes Macromoléculaires, UPR 9027, Institut de Biologie Structurale et Microbiologie, Marseille, France.


The genomic context and phylogenetic distribution of the tol-pal gene cluster and homologues to its various components have been investigated. The structure of this operon is well conserved across the gram negative bacteria, and the machine encoded by these genes probably evolved with the appearance of gram negative bacteria. Since the evolutionary appearance of the operon some species appear to have lost the genes. These bacteria seem to fall into two classes, namely obligate intracellular parasites and bacteria that produce large numbers of outer membrane vesicles. The evolution of the alphabeta and gamma proteobacteria was accompanied by the association of an additional gene (ybgC) with the operon. Several coincidences of genomic context argue for an important role of the tol-pal operon in cell envelope maintenance. Genes homologous to tolQ and tolR proved to be very widespread being found throughout the eubacteria, and one example in the archea, this distribution argues for an ancient origin of these genes. The genomic context of these genes often suggests a role in micronutrient uptake. Interestingly in all the cases examined the tolQ and tolR genes or their homologues appear to be present as a pair, with a potential for a tight translational regulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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