LysE of Corynebacterium glutamicum belongs to a large new superfamily of translocators whose members are probably all involved in the export of small solutes. Here, the transcript initiation site of lysE, and its divergently transcribed regulator gene, lysG, are identified. Single-copy transcriptional fusions of lysE with lacZ, and titration experiments, show that LysG is the positive regulator of lysE expression enabling its up to 20-fold induction. This induction requires the presence of a coinducer, which is either intracellular L-lysine, or L-arginine. A competition experiment showed that LysE exports these two basic amino acids at comparable rates of about 0·75 nmol min−1 (mg dry wt)−1. Although L-histidine and L-citrulline also act as coinducers of lysE expression, these two amino acids are not exported by LysE. As is evident from the analysis of a lysEG deletion mutant, the physiological role of the lysEG system is to prevent bacteriostasis due to elevated L-lysine or L-arginine concentrations that arise during growth in the presence of peptides or in mutants possessing a deregulated biosynthesis pathway. C. glutamicum has additional export activities other than those of LysE for exporting L-histidine, L-citrulline and L-ornithine.
An enantioselective amidase was purified to homogeneity from Agrobacterium tumefaciens d3. The enzyme has a molecular mass of about 490000 Da and is composed of identical subunits with a molecular mass of about 63000 Da. The purified enzyme converted racemic 2-phenylpropionamide to the corresponding S-acid with an enantiomeric excess (ee) value >95% at almost 50% conversion of the racemic amide. The purified enzyme was digested with trypsin and the amino acid sequences of the N terminus and different tryptic peptides determined. These amino acid sequences were used to clone the encoding gene. Finally, a 9330 bp DNA fragment was sequenced and the amidase gene identified. The deduced amino acid sequence showed homology to other enantioselective amidases from different bacterial genera. No indications of a structural coupling of the amidase gene with the genes for a nitrile hydratase could be found on the cloned DNA fragment. The amidase gene was encoded by an approximately 500 kb circular plasmid in A. tumefaciens d3. The amidase was heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli and, as well as 2-phenylpropionamide, was shown to hydrolyse α-chloro- and α-methoxyphenylacetamide and 2-methyl-3-phenylpropionamide highly enantioselectively. Some amino acids within a highly conserved region common amongst all known enantioselective amidases (‘amidase signature’) were changed by site-specific mutagenesis and significant changes in the relative activities with different amides observed.
A cluster (27 kbp) of genes responsible for the biosynthesis of the amphipathic, polysaccharide bioemulsifier emulsan from the oil-degrading Acinetobacter lwoffii RAG-1 was isolated and characterized. The complete sequence of this cluster, termed wee, consisted of 20 ORFs. One set of 17 ORFs was transcribed in one direction, while a second set of three ORFs, 607 bp upstream of the first, was transcribed in the opposite direction. Mutations in either of the two regions caused defects in emulsan production, yielding specific activities of 5–14% of parental emulsifying activity. Putative functions could be assigned to proteins involved in production of nucleotide amino sugar precursors, transglycosylation, transacetylation, polymerization and transport. However, no JUMPstart or ops sequences, normally found associated with some polysaccharide biosynthetic gene clusters, were identified. Evidence is presented suggesting that the bioemulsifier may be a member of the group 1 or group 4 polysaccharides.