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

The pheA/ tyrA/aroF region from Erwinia herbicola: an emerging comparative basis for analysis of gene organization and regulation in enteric bacteria.

Extensive knowledge exists in Escherichia coli about the contiguous pheA and aroF-tyrA operons which have opposite transcription orientations and are separated by a bidirectional transcription terminator. The corresponding structural genes and individual components of the terminator and attenuator from Erwinia herbicola have been analyzed from an evolutionary vantage point. A 7.5-kb DNA fragment from E. herbicola carrying the linked pheA, tyrA, and aroF genes was cloned by functional complementation of E. coli auxotrophic requirements. A 3,433-bp segment of DNA consisting of more than half of aroF, all of tyrA, and the entire phenylalanine operon (promoter, leader region encoding the leader peptide and containing the phe attenuator, and pheA) was sequenced. A bidirectional transcription terminator was positioned between the divergently transcribed pheA and tyrA. The adjacent aroF and tyrA genes share a common transcription orientation, consistent with their probable coexistence within an operon. However, tyrA can be expressed efficiently from an internal promoter which appears to lie within the 3' portion of aroF. The gene order is pheA tyrA aroF in E. herbicola, with the same tail-to-tail arrangement of transcription known to exist in E. coli. The pheL coding region of the phe operon was dominated by phenylalanine codons, seven of the 15 amino acid residues of the leader peptide being L-phenylalanine. The E. herbicola pheA and tyrA genes were 1,161 bp and 1,119 bp in length, respectively, and corresponded to deduced gene products having subunit molecular weights of 43,182 and 41,847. The deduced amino acid sequences of PheA and TyrA were homologous at their N-termini, consistent with a common evolutionary origin of the chorismate mutase domains present at the amino terminus of both PheA and TyrA. A detailed comparison of the E. coli and E. herbicola sequences was made. The pheA, tyrA, and aroF genes of E. herbicola exhibited high overall identity with the counterpart E. coli genes. Within the leader region of the phe operon, the leader peptide coding region was highly conserved. Although the 1:2 and 2':3' stems defining the pause structure and the antiterminator, respectively, were also highly conserved, RNA segment 4 of the attenuator terminator exhibited considerable divergence, as did the distal portion of the attenuator region. Within the span of attenuator region encoding the three stem-loop structures of mRNA secondary configuration, hot spots of base-residue divergence were localized to looped-out regions. No changes occurred which would simultaneously disrupt alternative pairing relationships of secondary configuration. The bidirectional terminator between pheA and tyrA has diverged very substantially.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


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