A genomic library for Neisseria gonorrhoeae, constructed in the lambda cloning vector EMBL4, was screened for clones carrying arginine biosynthesis genes by complementation of Escherichia coli mutants. Clones complementing defects in argA, argB, argE, argG, argIF, carA, and carB were isolated. An E. coli defective in the acetylornithine deacetylase gene (argE) was complemented by the ornithine acetyltransferase gene (argJ) from N. gonorrhoeae. This heterologous complementation is reported for the first time. The carAB operon from E. coli hybridized with the gonococcal clones that carried carA or carB genes under conditions of high stringency, detecting 80% or greater similarity and showing that the nucleotide sequence of the carbamoylphosphate synthetase genes is very similar in these two organisms. Under these conditions for hybridization, the gonococcal clones carrying argB or argF genes did not hybridize with plasmids containing the corresponding E. coli gene. Cocomplementation experiments established gene linkage between carA and carB. Clones complementing a gene defect in argE were also able to complement an argA mutation. This suggests that the enzyme ornithine acetyltransferase from N. gonorrhoeae (encoded by argJ) may be able to complement both argA and argE mutations in E. coli. The arginine biosynthesis genes in N. gonorrhoeae appear to be scattered as in members of the family Pseudomonadaceae
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