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Gene. 1990 Mar 1;87(1):37-43.

The arc operon for anaerobic arginine catabolism in Pseudomonas aeruginosa contains an additional gene, arcD, encoding a membrane protein.

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Mikrobiologisches Institut, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zürich, Switzerland.


The arginine deiminase (ADI) pathway in Pseudomonas aeruginosa serves to generate ATP. The three enzymes involved, ADI, catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase and carbamate kinase, are induced by oxygen limitation and encoded by the contiguous arcABC genes. A 1.5-kb region upstream from arcABC was sequenced and found to contain an open reading frame, arcD, coding for a hydrophobic polypeptide of 52 kDa. The content and distribution of hydrophobic amino acids suggest that the arcD gene product may be a transmembrane protein. When arcD was fused to an Escherichia coli promoter, the ArcD protein was synthesized in E. coli maxicells and detected in the membrane fraction. In sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis the ArcD protein migrated like a 32-kDa protein; such anomalous electrophoretic mobility is known for other highly hydrophobic proteins. Mutations in arcD rendered the cells unable to utilize extracellular arginine as an energy source. Since anaerobic arginine consumption and ornithine release are coupled in P. aeruginosa, it is proposed that arcD specifies an arginine: ornithine antiporter or a part thereof. Insertions of IS21 or Tn1725 in arcD had a strong polar effect on the expression of the arcAB enzymes, indicating that the arc genes are organized as an arcDABC operon.

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