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EMBO J. 1991 Oct;10(10):2949-55.

Analysis of the Rhodobacter capsulatus puc operon: the pucC gene plays a central role in the regulation of LHII (B800-850 complex) expression.

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Institut für Biologie II, Mikrobiologie, Universität Freiburg, FRG.


Formation of the light harvesting complex B800-850 (LHII) of Rhodobacter capsulatus requires the expression of more than the three known genes specific for that complex (pucA, pucB and pucE) encoding the alpha, beta and gamma subunits of LHII, respectively. In this work evidence is presented that the product of the gene pucC, which is located downstream from pucA, is essential for high-level transcription of the pucBACDE operon and formation of LHII. Plasmids were constructed containing deletions in one or several puc genes and transferred to a pucC::Tn5 mutant in which the puc operon is not expressed. It was found that the LHII- phenotype of the mutant was due to the missing PucC protein and that all known puc genes are located in one operon. To dissect the pucC, pucD and pucE genes from pucB and pucA and independently regulate them, they were placed under control of the nifHDK promoter. Only under nitrogen-fixing growth conditions was the LHII- pucC::Tn5 mutant complemented by this construction. It is concluded that expression of pucC is essential for formation of the LHII complex in R.capsulatus. Analysis of the pucD and pucE genes led to the conclusion that the products of these genes stabilize the B800-850 complex.

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