The Escherichia coli gene murZ, encoding the enzyme UDP-N-acetylglucosamine enolpyruvyl transferase, has been cloned and sequenced. Identified by screening an E. coli genomic library for clones that conferred phosphomycin resistance, murZ encoded a 419-amino-acid polypeptide and was mapped to 69.3 min on the E. coli chromosome. MurZ protein was purified to near homogeneity and found to have the expected UDP-N-acetylglucosamine enolpyruvyl transferase activity. Sequence analysis of the predicted product revealed 44% identity to OrfR from Bacillus subtilis (K. Trach, J.W. Chapman, P. Piggot, D. LeCoq, and J.A. Hoch, J. Bacteriol. 170:4194-4208, 1988), suggesting that orfR may also encode a UDP-N-acetylglucosamine enolpyruvyl transferase enzyme. MurZ is also homologous to the aromatic amino acid biosynthetic enzyme enolpyruvyl shikimate phosphate synthase, the other enzyme known to catalyze an enolpyruvyl transfer
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