Summary: strain N4 carries a Tn5 insertion in a gene which is induced by nitrogen and carbon deprivation as well as in the presence of tyrosine. The Tn-tagged locus was found to share significant similarity with the human gene and the corresponding gene, encoding the enzyme homogentisate dioxygenase, which is involved in the degradation of tyrosine. Extended DNA sequence analysis of the tagged locus revealed the presence of several ORFs, including one encoding a polypeptide sharing a high degree of similarity with human and fungal maleylacetoacetate isomerases. Strain N4 was found to be unable to use tyrosine as carbon source, to lack homogentisate dioxygenase activity, to produce a melanin-like pigment and to be affected in stationary-phase survival. This is believed to be the first report of a -homologous gene in bacteria.


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