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J Bacteriol. 1994 Jan;176(2):432-42.

Cloning, sequencing, and expression of thermophilic Bacillus sp. strain TB-90 urease gene complex in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tokyo, Japan.


The urease of thermophilic Bacillus sp. strain TB-90 is composed of three subunits with molecular masses of 61, 12, and 11 kDa. By using synthetic oligonucleotide probes based on N-terminal amino acid sequences of each subunit, we cloned a 3.2-kb EcoRI fragment of TB-90 genomic DNA. Moreover, we cloned two other DNA fragments by gene walking starting from this fragment. Finally, we reconstructed in vitro a 6.2-kb DNA fragment which expressed catalytically active urease in Escherichia coli by combining these three DNA fragments. Nucleotide sequencing analysis revealed that the urease gene complex consists of nine genes, which were designed ureA, ureB, ureC, ureE, ureF, ureG, ureD, ureH, and ureI in order of arrangement. The structural genes ureA, ureB, and ureC encode the 11-, 12-, and 61-kDa subunits, respectively. The deduced amino acid sequences of UreD, UreE, UreF, and UreG, the gene products of four accessory genes, are homologous to those of the corresponding Ure proteins of Klebsiella aerogenes. UreD, UreF, and UreG were essential for expression of urease activity in E. coli and are suggested to play important roles in the maturation step of the urease in a co- and/or posttranslational manner. On the other hand, UreH and UreI exhibited no significant similarity to the known accessory proteins of other bacteria. However, UreH showed 23% amino acid identity to the Alcaligenes eutrophus HoxN protein, a high-affinity nickel transporter.

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