SUMMARY: region II alginate genes are involved in the biosynthesis of the uronic acid containing exopolysaccharide, alginic acid. We have subcloned and overexpressed various DNA fragments contained within region II in an attempt to further characterize and more precisely localize the genes involved in alginate production. Overexpression of the genes controlling alginate biosynthesis within region II was accomplished by placing various cloned restriction fragments under the transcriptional control of the hybrid promoter, and plasmid encoded proteins were examined in a maxicell expression system. We correlated various region II plasmid constructions with the ability to complement specific alginate negative mutants and code for polypeptides. Several proteins suspected of being involved in alginate production were encoded by sequences within region II. The results of this study further reveal that the transcriptional orientation of the loci within region II appears to be in the direction from to The specific activities of phosphomannomutase (PMM) and GDP-mannose pyrophosphorylase (GMP), two enzymes involved in the formation of the alginate precursor GDP-mannuronic acid, were measured in region II mutants and in cells overexpressing cloned segments from region II. Based on these enzyme measurements, we conclude that the remaining region II genes do not encode either PMM or GMP. These results support the suggestion that the remaining genes in region II are likely to be involved in post GDP-mannuronic acid processing events such as mannuronic acid transport, polymerization, secretion, epimerization and acetylation.


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