Among the Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli K-12 is the only strain known to have two structural genes (argF and argI) for ornithine carbamoyltransferase. The two gene products interact to form a family of four functional isoenzymes, respectively designated FFF, FFI, FII, and III. The FFF and III isoenzymes exhibit nearly identical kinetic parameters in the conditions applied. FFF is more thermolabile than III; this allows the straightforward characterization of new transducing phages carrying either argF or argI. The bearing of the available information regarding ornithine carbamoyltransferase isoenzymes on the evolution of the ancestral E. coli chromosome is reconsidered
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