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Arch Microbiol. 1991;156(4):281-9.

Structure and expression of the Chlorobium vibrioforme hemA gene.

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Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912.


The green sulfur bacterium, Chlorobium vibrioforme, synthesizes the tetrapyrrole precursor, delta-aminolevulinic acid (ALA), from glutamate via the RNA-dependent five-carbon pathway. A 1.9-kb clone of genomic DNA from C. vibrioforme that is capable of transforming a glutamyl-tRNA reductase-deficient, ALA-dependent, hemA mutant of Escherichia coli to prototrophy was sequenced. The transforming C. vibrioforme DNA has significant sequence similarity to the E. coli, Salmonella typhimurium, and Bacillus subtilis hemA genes and contains a 1245 base open reading frame that encodes a 415 amino acid polypeptide with a calculated molecular weight of 46174. This polypeptide has over 28% amino acid identity with the polypeptides deduced from the nucleic acid sequences of the E. coli, S. typhimurium, and B. subtilis hemA genes. No sequence similarity was detected, at either the nucleic acid or the peptide level, with the Rhodobacter capsulatus or Bradyrhizobium japonicum hemA genes, which encode ALA synthase, or with the S. typhimurium hemL gene, which encodes glutamate-1-semialdehyde aminotransferase. These results establish that hemA encodes glutamyl-tRNA reductase in species that use the five-carbon ALA biosynthetic pathway. A second region of the cloned DNA, located downstream from the hemA gene, has significant sequence similarity to the E. coli and B. subtilis hemC genes. This region contains a potential open reading frame that encodes a polypeptide that has high sequence identity to the deduced E. coli and B. subtilis HemC peptides. hemC encodes the tetrapyrrole biosynthetic enzyme, porphobilinogen deaminase, in these species.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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