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Mol Microbiol. 1997 Jul;25(1):117-34.

The Rhizobium meliloti exoK gene and prsD/prsE/exsH genes are components of independent degradative pathways which contribute to production of low-molecular-weight succinoglycan.

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Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139, USA.


When grown on medium supplemented with the succinoglycan-binding dye, Calcofluor, and visualized under UV light, colonies of Rhizobium meliloti (Sinorhizobium meliloti) exoK mutants produce a fluorescent halo with a delayed onset relative to wild-type colonies. By conducting transposon mutagenesis of exoK mutants of R. meliloti and screening for colonies with even more severe delays in production of these fluorescent halos, we identified three genes, designated prsD, prsE, and exsH, which are required for the eventual production of fluorescent halos by exoK colonies. Nucleotide sequence indicates that the prsD and prsE genes encode homologues of ABC transporters and membrane fusion proteins of Type I secretion systems, respectively, whereas exsH encodes a homologue of endo-1,3-1,4-beta-glycanases with glycine-rich nonameric repeats typical of proteins secreted by Type I secretion systems. The exoK gene and the prsD/prsE/exsH genes were shown to be components of independent pathways for production of extracellular succinoglycan degrading activities and for production of low-molecular-weight succinoglycan by R. meliloti. Based on these results, we propose that ExsH is a succinoglycan depolymerase secreted by a Type I secretion system composed of PrsD and PrsE, and that the ExsH and ExoK glycanases contribute to production of low-molecular-weight succinoglycan.

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