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J Biol Chem. 1993 May 25;268(15):11296-303.

Cloning and characterization of a putative Ca2+/H+ antiporter gene from Escherichia coli upon functional complementation of Na+/H+ antiporter-deficient strains by the overexpressed gene.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, City University of New York, New York 10029.


DNA libraries from alkaliphilic Bacillus firmus OF4 had been screened earlier (Ivey, D.M., Guffanti, A.A., Bossewitch, J. S., Padan, E., and Krulwich, T. A. (1991) J. Biol. Chem. 266, 23483-23489) for clones that would functionally complement a strain of Escherichia coli (NM81) with a deletion in one of its Na+/H+ antiporter genes. During those studies, an alkaliphile antiporter gene was hypothesized to have been incorporated into the chromosome of strain NM81, producing Na(+)-resistant NM8191. After introduction of a deletion in the second known E. coli Na+/H+ antiporter gene, libraries were prepared from NM8191 and screened for complementation of Na+/H+ antiporter-deficient mutants of E. coli. Instead of retrieving an alkaliphile gene, an unexpected E. coli gene was identified on the basis of its ability to restore Na+ resistance and membrane Na+/H+ antiporter activity to such mutant strains. The active open reading frame in the clone maps at 27 min on the E. coli chromosome and is identical in sequence to a wild type counterpart. It would be predicted to encode an extremely hydrophobic protein with multiple membrane-spanning regions and a molecular weight of 39,200. A region in one of the predicted hydrophilic loops in the gene product structure possesses striking sequence similarity to calsequestrin. The Ca2+/H+ antiporter activity of membranes from an E. coli transformant with a clone possessing only this open reading frame was indeed found to have enhanced pH-independent Ca2+/H+ antiporter activity. The Ca2+/H+ and Na+/H+ antiporter activities conferred by the clone were both inhibited by Mg2+. The gene was designated chaA and is proposed to be the structural gene for a Ca2+/H+ antiporter whose overexpression leads to resistance to growth inhibition by both calcium and sodium.

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