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J Bacteriol. 1992 Aug;174(16):5371-81.

Multiple repetitive elements and organization of the lux operons of luminescent terrestrial bacteria.

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Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, Montreal Quebec, Canada.


The complete nucleotide sequences of the luxA to luxE genes, as well as the flanking regions, were determined for the lux operons of two Xenorhabdus luminescens strains isolated from insects and humans. The nucleotide sequences of the corresponding lux genes (luxCDABE) were 85 to 90% identical but completely diverged 350 bp upstream of the first lux gene (luxC) and immediately downstream of the last lux gene (luxE). These results show that the luxG gene found immediately downstream of luxE in luminescent marine bacteria is missing at this location in terrestrial bacteria and raise the possibility that the lux operons are at different positions in the genomes of the X. luminescens strains. Four enteric repetitive intergenic consensus (ERIC) or intergenic repetitive unit (IRU) sequences of 126 bp were identified in the 7.7-kbp DNA fragment from the X.luminescens strain isolated from humans, providing the first example of multiple ERIC structures in the same operon including two ERIC structures at the same site. Only a single ERIC structure between luxB and luxE is present in the 7-kbp lux DNA from insects. Analysis of the genomic DNAs from five X. luminescens strains or isolates by polymerase chain reaction has demonstrated that an ERIC structure is between luxB and luxE in all of the strains, whereas only the strains isolated from humans had an ERIC structure between luxD and luxA. The results indicate that there has been insertion and/or deletion of multiple 126-bp repetitive elements in the lux operons of X.luminescens during evolution.

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