Nucleotide sequence of a gene cluster involved in entry of E colicins and single-stranded DNA of infecting filamentous bacteriophages into Escherichia coli
Mutations in fii or tolA of the fii-tolA-tolB gene cluster at 17 min on the Escherichia coli map render cells tolerant to high concentrations of the E colicins and do not allow the DNA of infecting single-stranded filamentous bacteriophages to enter the bacterial cytoplasm. The nucleotide sequence of a 1,854-base-pair DNA fragment carrying the fii region was determined. This sequence predicts three open reading frames sequentially coding for proteins of 134, 230, and 142 amino acids, followed by the potential start of the tolA gene. Oligonucleotide mutagenesis of each open reading frame and maxicell analysis demonstrated that all open reading frames are expressed in vivo. Sequence analysis of mutant fii genes identified the 230-amino acid protein as the fii gene product. Chromosomal insertion mutations were constructed in each of the two remaining open reading frames. The phenotype resulting from an insertion of the chloramphenicol gene into the gene coding for the 142-amino acid protein is identical to that of mutations in fii and tolA. This gene is located between fii and tolA, and we propose the designation of tolQRA for this cluster in which tolQ is the former fii gene and tolR is the new open reading frame. The protein products of this gene cluster play an important role in the transport of large molecules such as the E colicins and filamentous phage DNA into the bacterium.
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