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Gene. 1997 Feb 28;186(2):227-35.

Molecular cloning and characterization of Borrelia burgdorferi rpoB.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, New York Medical College, Valhalla 10595, USA.


Borrelia burgdorferi rpoB, the gene encoding the beta-subunit of RNA polymerase, has been cloned and sequenced. The full-length gene encodes a protein of 1154 amino acids with a calculated molecular mass of 129.8 kDa. The amino-acid sequence is 49% identical to the corresponding protein from Escherichia coli. B. burgdorferi rpoB is a component of a gene cluster, which includes rplJ, rplL and rpoC. A temperature-sensitive E. coli rpoB mutant could be complemented by introduction of the B. burgdorferi gene, indicating that the B. burgdorferi rpoB is expressed in E. coli and the beta-subunit can be assembled into functional holoenzyme. The wild-type amino-acid sequence of the B. burgdorferi beta-subunit is consistent with those of spontaneously arising rifampicin-resistant mutants of E. coli and Mycobacterium tuberculosis at certain critical residues. This suggests that the natural resistance of B. burgdorferi to rifampicin may be due to the primary amino-acid sequence of its beta-subunit.

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