The nucleotide sequence of a 4.8-kilobase SacII-PstI fragment encoding the anaerobic glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase operon of Escherichia coli has been determined. The operon consists of three open reading frames, glpABC, encoding polypeptides of molecular weight 62,000, 43,000, and 44,000, respectively. The 62,000- and 43,000-dalton subunits corresponded to the catalytic GlpAB dimer. The larger GlpA subunit contained a putative flavin adenine dinucleotide-binding site, and the smaller GlpB subunit contained a possible flavin mononucleotide-binding domain. The GlpC subunit contained two cysteine clusters typical of iron-sulfur-binding domains. This subunit was tightly associated with the envelope fraction and may function as the membrane anchor for the GlpAB dimer. Analysis of the GlpC primary structure indicated that the protein lacked extended hydrophobic sequences with the potential to form alpha-helices but did contain several long segments capable of forming transmembrane amphipathic helices
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