Nucleotide sequence of the Escherichia coli gene for lipid A disaccharide synthase. Academic Article uri icon


  • The lpxB gene of Escherichia coli, believed to be the structural gene for lipid A disaccharide synthase, is located in the min 4 region of the chromosome. It is adjacent to and clockwise of the lpxA gene, which is thought to encode UDP-N-acetylglucosamine acyltransferase. Preliminary evidence suggests that lpxA and lpxB are cotranscribed in the clockwise direction and thus constitute part of a previously unknown operon (D. N. Crowell, M. S. Anderson, and C. R. H. Raetz, J. Bacteriol. 168:152-159, 1986). We now report the complete nucleotide sequence of a 1,522-base-pair PvuII-HincII fragment known to carry the lpxB gene. This sequence contained an open reading frame of 1,149 base pairs, in agreement with the predicted size, location, and orientation of lpxB. There was a second open reading frame 5' to, and in the same orientation as, lpxB that corresponded to lpxA. The ochre codon terminating lpxA was shown to overlap the methionine codon identified as the initiation codon for lpxB, suggesting that these genes are cotranscribed and translationally coupled. A third open reading frame was also shown to begin at the 3' end of lpxB with analogous overlap between the opal codon terminating lpxB and the methionine codon that putatively initiates translation downstream of lpxB in the clockwise direction. These results argue that at least three genes constitute a translationally coupled operon in the min 4 region of the E. coli chromosome. The accompanying paper by Tomasiewicz and McHenry (J. Bacteriol. 169:5735-5744, 1987) presents 4.35 kilobases of DNA sequence, beginning at the 3' end of lpxB, and argues that dnaE and several other open reading frames may be members of this operon.

publication date

  • December 1987