Summary: The nucleotide sequences of two gene clusters, and involved in the synthesis of type 5 and type 8 capsular polysaccharides (CPs), respectively, were determined. Each gene cluster contained 16 ORFs, which were named through for type 5 CP and through for type 8 CP. The and loci were allelic and were mapped to the l-G fragment in the standard l map of strain NCTC 8325. The predicted gene products of through and through are essentially identical to those of through and through respectively, with very few amino acid substitutions. Four ORFs located in the central region of each locus are type-specific. A comparison of the predicted amino acid sequences of and with sequences found in the databases allowed tentative assignment of functions to 15 of the 16 ORFs. The majority of the capsule genes are likely to be involved in amino sugar synthesis; the remainder are likely to be involved in sugar transfer, capsule chain-length regulation, polymerization and transport.


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