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Eur J Biochem. 1993 Sep 1;216(2):539-48.

Cloning and nucleotide sequence of the gcv operon encoding the Escherichia coli glycine-cleavage system.

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Institute for Enzyme Research, University of Tokushima, Japan.


P-protein, H-protein and T-protein of the glycine cleavage system have been purified from Escherichia coli. Their N-terminal amino acid sequences were determined, and a set of oligonucleotide probes was designed for gene cloning. The nucleotide sequence of a fragment of DNA around the 62-min region of the E. coli chromosome, containing genes for the components of the glycine-cleavage system has been determined. The sequence includes three structural genes encoding T-protein (363 amino acids, 40013 Da), H-protein (128 amino acids, 13679 Da) and P-protein (956 amino acids, 104240 Da). These genes are named gcvT, gcvH and gcvP, respectively. They are organized in the above-mentioned order on the same strand of DNA with short intercistronic sequences. The presence of a potential promoter preceding gcvT and a typical rho-independent terminator sequence following gcvP indicated that the three genes constitute a single operon. Each component of the E. coli glycine-cleavage system exhibits considerable amino acid sequence similarity with the animal and plant counterparts. When the plasmid containing the gcv operon was transfected in E. coli cells, the gene products of gcvT, gcvH and gcvP were overexpressed under the direction of the promoter of the gcv operon. However, bacteria harboring the plasmid that contained the gcv operon without the promoter region and the 5' terminal portion of gcvT failed to overexpress any of the three components.

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