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J Bacteriol. 1988 Mar;170(3):1268-74.

First committed step of lipid A biosynthesis in Escherichia coli: sequence of the lpxA gene.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53706.


The min 4 region of the Escherichia coli genome contains genes (lpxA and lpxB) that encode proteins involved in lipid A biosynthesis. We have determined the sequence of 1,350 base pairs of DNA upstream of the lpxB gene. This fragment of DNA contains the complete coding sequence for the 28.0-kilodalton lpxA gene product and an upstream open reading frame capable of encoding a 17-kilodalton protein (ORF17). In addition there appears to be an additional open reading frame (ORF?) immediately upstream of ORF17. The initiation codon for lpxA is a GUG codon, and the start codon for ORF17 is apparently a UUG codon. The start and stop codons overlap between ORF? and ORF17, ORF17 and lpxA, and lpxA and lpxB. This overlap is suggestive of translational coupling and argues that the genes are cotranscribed. Crowell et al. (D.N. Crowell, W.S. Reznikoff, and C.R.H. Raetz, J. Bacteriol. 169:5727-5734, 1987) and Tomasiewicz and McHenry (H.G. Tomasiewicz and C.S. McHenry, J. Bacteriol. 169:5735-5744, 1987) have demonstrated that there are three similarly overlapping coding regions downstream of lpxB including dnaE, suggesting the existence of a complex operon of at least seven genes: 5'-ORF?-ORF17-lpxA-lpxB-ORF23-dnaE-ORF37-3 '.

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