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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

epsABCJ genes are involved in the biosynthesis of the exopolysaccharide mauran produced by Halomonas maura.

The moderately halophilic strain Halomonas maura S-30 produces a high-molecular-mass acidic polymer (4.7 x 10(6) Da) composed of repeating units of mannose, galactose, glucose and glucuronic acid. This exopolysaccharide (EPS), known as mauran, has interesting functional properties that make it suitable for use in many industrial fields. Analysis of the flanking regions of a mini-Tn5 insertion site in an EPS-deficient mutant of H. maura, strain TK71, led to the identification of five ORFs (epsABCDJ), which form part of a gene cluster (eps) with the same structural organization as others involved in the biosynthesis of group 1 capsules and some EPSs. Conserved genetic features were found such as JUMPstart and ops elements, which are characteristically located preceding the gene clusters for bacterial polysaccharides. On the basis of their amino-acid-sequence homologies, their putative hydropathy profiles and the effect of their mutations, it is predicted that EpsA (an exporter-protein homologue belonging to the OMA family) and EpsC (a chain-length-regulator homologue belonging to the PCP family) play a role in the assembly, polymerization and translocation of mauran. The possibility that mauran might be synthesized via a Wzy-like biosynthesis system, just as it is for many other polysaccharides, is also discussed. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that EpsJ is homologous with some members of the PST-exporter-protein family, which seems to function together with each OMA-PCP pair in polysaccharide transport in Gram-negative bacteria, transferring the assembled lipid-linked repeating units from the cytoplasmic membrane to the periplasmic space. Maximum induction of the eps genes is reached during stationary phase in the presence of 5 % (w/v) marine salts.[1]


  1. epsABCJ genes are involved in the biosynthesis of the exopolysaccharide mauran produced by Halomonas maura. Arco, Y., Llamas, I., Martínez-Checa, F., Argandoña, M., Quesada, E., del Moral, A. Microbiology (Reading, Engl.) (2005) [Pubmed]
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