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Braz J Med Biol Res. 2001 Nov;34(11):1379-95.

Sequencing and promoter analysis of the nifENXorf3orf5fdxAnifQ operon from Azospirillum brasilense Sp7.

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Departamento de Genética, Centro de Biotecnologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Benito Gonçalves, 9500 Prédio 43421, 91501-970 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.


A 40-kb DNA region containing the major cluster of nif genes has been isolated from the Azospirillum brasilense Sp7 genome. In this region three nif operons have been identified: nifHDKorf1Y, nifENXorf3orf5fdxAnifQ and orf2nifUSVorf4. The operons containing nifENX and nifUSV genes are separated from the structural nifHDKorf1Y operon by about 5 kb and 10 kb, respectively. The present study shows the sequence analysis of the 6045-bp DNA region containing the nifENX genes. The deduced amino acid sequences from the open reading frames were compared to the nif gene products of other diazotrophic bacteria and indicate the presence of seven ORFs, all reading in the same direction as that of the nifHDKorf1Y operon. Consensus sigma54 and NifA-binding sites are present only in the promoter region upstream of the nifE gene. This promoter is activated by NifA protein and is approximately two-times less active than the nifH promoter, as indicated by the beta-galactosidase assays. This result suggests the differential expression of the nif genes and their respective products in Azospirillum.

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