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J Bacteriol. 1985 Jun;162(3):1111-9.

Regulation of capsular polysaccharide synthesis in Escherichia coli K-12: characterization of three regulatory genes.


The synthesis of the Escherichia coli capsular polysaccharide varies with growth medium, temperature of growth, and genetic background. lac fusions to genes necessary for capsule synthesis (cps) demonstrated that these genes are regulated negatively in vivo by the lon gene product. We have now isolated, characterized, and mapped mutations in three new regulatory genes (rcs, for regulator of capsule synthesis) that control expression of these same fusions. rcsA and rcsB are positive regulators of capsule synthesis. rcsA is located at min 43 on the E. coli map, whereas rcsB lies at 47 min. rcsC, a negative regulator of capsule synthesis, is located at min 47, close to rcsB. All three regulatory mutations are unlinked to either the structural genes cpsA-F or lon. Mutations in all three rcs genes are recessive to the wild type. We postulate that lon may regulate capsule synthesis indirectly, by regulating the availability of one of the positive regulators.

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