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

Sequence and mutational analysis of a tartrate utilization operon from Agrobacterium vitis.

The grapevine is the natural host of the tumorigenic bacterium Agrobacterium vitis. Most of the A. vitis isolates can use tartrate, an unusually abundant compound in grapevine. The nopaline strain, AB4, contains a 170-kb conjugative plasmid (pTrAB4) encoding tartrate utilization. A 5.65-kb pTrAB4 region which enables non-tartrate-utilizing Agrobacterium tumefaciens to grow on tartrate was sequenced and mutagenized with the transcriptional fusion transposon Tn5-uidA1. This DNA fragment contains four intact open reading frames (ORFs) (ttuABCD) required for tartrate-dependent growth. The mutant phenotypes of each ORF, their homologies to published sequences, and their induction patterns allowed us to propose a model for tartrate utilization in A. vitis. ttuA encodes a LysR-like transcriptional activator and is transcribed in the absence of tartrate. ttuB codes for a protein with homology to transporter proteins and is required for entry of tartrate into bacteria. ttuC codes for a tartrate dehydrogenase, while ttuD lacks homology to known sequences; the growth properties of ttuD mutants suggest that TtuD catalyzes the second step in tartrate degradation. A fifth incomplete ORF (ttuE) encodes a pyruvate kinase which is induced by tartrate and required for optimal growth. Although the ttuABCD fragment allows growth of A. tumefaciens on tartrate, it does not provide full tartrate utilization in the original A. vitis background.[1]


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