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Molecular cloning of the Escherichia coli B L-fucose-D-arabinose gene cluster.

By E A Elsinghorst and R P Mortlock


To metabolize the uncommon pentose D-arabinose, enteric bacteria often recruit the enzymes of the L-fucose pathway by a regulatory mutation. However, Escherichia coli B can grow on D-arabinose without the requirement of a mutation, using some of the L-fucose enzymes and a D-ribulokinase that is distinct from the L-fuculokinase of the L-fucose pathway. To study this naturally occurring D-arabinose pathway, we cloned and partially characterized the E. coli B L-fucose-D-arabinose gene cluster and compared it with the L-fucose gene cluster of E. coli K-12. The order of the fucA, -P, -I, and -K genes was the same in the two E. coli strains. However, the E. coli B gene cluster contained a 5.2-kb segment located between the fucA and fucP genes that was not present in E. coli K-12. This segment carried the darK gene, which encodes the D-ribulokinase needed for growth on D-arabinose by E. coli B. The darK gene was not homologous with any of the L-fucose genes or with chromosomal DNA from other D-arabinose-utilizing bacteria. D-Ribulokinase and L-fuculokinase were purified to apparent homogeneity and partially characterized. The molecular weights, substrate specificities, and kinetic parameters of these two enzymes were very dissimilar, which together with DNA hybridization analysis, suggested that these enzymes are not related. D-Arabinose metabolism by E. coli B appears to be the result of acquisitive evolution, but the source of the darK gene has not been determined

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1994
DOI identifier: 10.1128/jb.176.23.7223-7232.1994
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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