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J Bacteriol. 1997 Aug;179(16):5118-25.

Identification and analysis of a gene encoding L-2,4-diaminobutyrate:2-ketoglutarate 4-aminotransferase involved in the 1,3-diaminopropane production pathway in Acinetobacter baumannii.

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Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University, Japan.


The ca. 2.2-kbp region upstream of the ddc gene encoding L-2,4-diaminobutyrate decarboxylase in Acinetobacter baumannii was sequenced and found to contain another open reading frame of 1,338 nucleotides encoding a protein with a deduced molecular mass of 47,423 Da. Analysis of the homologies observed from the deduced amino acid sequence indicated that the gene product is an enzyme belonging to subgroup II of the aminotransferases. This was first verified when examination of the crude extracts from Escherichia coli transformants led to detection of a novel aminotransferase activity catalyzing the following reversible reactions: L-2,4-diaminobutyric acid + 2-ketoglutaric acid<-->L-glutamic acid + L-aspartic beta-semialdehyde. Further confirmation was obtained when the gene was overexpressed in E. coli and the corresponding protein was purified to homogeneity. It catalyzed the same reactions and its N-terminal amino acid sequence was consistent with that deduced from the nucleotide sequence. Therefore, the gene and its product were named dat and L-2,4-diaminobutyrate:2-ketoglutarate 4-aminotransferase (DABA AT), respectively. Feeding experiments of A. baumannii with L-[U-14C]aspartic acid resulted in the incorporation of the label into 1,3-diaminopropane. Apparent homologs of dat and DABA AT were detected in other Acinetobacter species by PCR amplification and Western blotting. These results indicate that the dat gene (as well as the ddc gene) participates in the synthesis of 1,3-diaminopropane, the only diamine found in this genus. However, the biological role, if one exists, of 1,3-diaminopropane synthesis is unknown.

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