Summary: We have analysed a gene cluster in the 67.4-76.0 min region of the chromosome, revealed by recent systematic genome sequencing. The genes within this cluster include: (1) five genes encoding homologues of the mannose permease of the phosphotransferase system (IIB, IIB', IIC, IIC' and IID); (2) genes encoding a putative -acetylgalactosamine 6-phosphate metabolic pathway including (a) a deacetylase, (b) an isomerizing deaminase, (c) a putative carbohydrate kinase, and (d) an aldolase; and (3) a transcriptional regulatory protein homologous to members of the DeoR family. Evidence is presented suggesting that the aldolase-encoding gene within this cluster is the previously designated gene that encodes tagatose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase. These proteins and a novel IIA-like protein encoded in the 2.4-4.1 min region are characterized with respect to their sequence similarities and phylogenetic relationships with other homologous proteins. A pathway for the metabolism of -acetylgalactosamine biochemically similar to that for the metabolism of -acetylglucosamine is proposed.


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