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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1984 Oct;81(19):5975-9.

Mercuric ion-resistance operons of plasmid R100 and transposon Tn501: the beginning of the operon including the regulatory region and the first two structural genes.


The mercuric ion-resistance operons of plasmid R100 (originally from Shigella) and transposon Tn501 (originally from a plasmid isolated in Pseudomonas) have been compared by DNA sequence analysis. The sequences for the first 1340 base pairs of Tn501 are given with the best alignment with the comparable 1319 base pairs of R100. The homology between the two sequences starts at base 58 after the end of the insertion sequence IS-1 of R100. The sequences include the transcriptional regulatory region, and the homology is particularly strong in regions just upstream from potential transcriptional initiation sites. The trans-acting regulatory gene merR consists of 180 base pairs in both cases and codes for a highly basic polypeptide of 60 amino acids, which is also rich in serine. The Tn501 and R100 merR genes differ in 25 of the 180 base positions, and the resulting polypeptides differ in seven amino acids. The regulatory region before the major transcription initiation site contains potential -35 and -10 sequences and dyad symmetrical sequences, which may be the merR binding sites for transcriptional regulation. The first structural gene, merT, encodes a highly hydrophobic polypeptide of 116 amino acids. The R100 and Tn501 merT genes differ in 17% of their positions, leading to 14 (12%) amino acid changes. This region had previously been shown to encode a protein governing membrane transport of mercuric ions. The second structural gene, merC, would give a 91 amino acid polypeptide with a hydrophobic amino-terminal segment. The Tn501 and R100 merC genes differ at 37 base positions, leading to 10 amino acid changes.

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