Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 160, Issue 6, pp 454–460 | Cite as

Molecular organization of the Escherichia coli gab cluster: nucleotide sequence of the structural genes gabD and gabP and expression of the GABA permease gene

  • Eckhard Niegemann
  • Arno Schulz
  • Klaus Bartsch
Original Papers


We have determined the nucleotide sequences of two structural genes of the Escherichia coli gab cluster, which encodes the enzymes of the 4-aminobutyrate degradation pathway: gabD, coding for succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase (SSDH, EC and gabP, coding for the 4-aminobutyrate (GABA) transport carrier (GABA permease). We have previously reported the nucleotide sequence of the third structural gene of the cluster, gabT, coding for glutamate: succinic semialdehyde transaminase (EC All three gab genes are transribed unidirectionally and their orientation within the cluster is 5′-gabD-gabT-gabP-3′. gabT and gabP are separated by an intergenic region of 234-bp, which contains three repetetive extragenic palindromic (REP) sequences. The gabD gene consists of 1,449 nucleotides specifying a protein of 482 amino acids with a molecular mass of 51.7 kDa. The protein shows significant homologies to the NAD+-dependent aldehyde dehydrogenase (EC from Aspergillus nidulans and several mammals, and to the tumor associated NADP+-dependent aldehyde dehydrogenase (EC from rat. The permease gene gabP comprises 1,401 nucleotides coding a highly hydrophobic protein of 466 amino acids with a molecular mass of 51.1 kDa. The GABA permease shows features typical for an integral membrane protein and is highly homologous to the aromatic acid carrier from E. coli, the proline, arginine and histidine permeases from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the proline transport protein from A. nidulans. Uptake of GABA was increased ca. 5-fold in transformants of E. coli containing gabP plasmids. Strong overexpression of the gabP gene under control of the isopropyl-2-d-thiogalactoside (IPTG) inducible tac promoter, however, resulted in a severe growth inhibition of the transformed strains. The GABA carrier was characterized using moderately overexpressing transformants. The Km of GABA uptake was found to be 11.8 μM and the Vmax 0.33 nmol/min · mg cells. Uptake of GABA was stimulated by ammonium sulfate and abolished by 2,4-dinitrophenol. Aspartate competed with GABA for uptake.

Key words

Succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase GABA permease Gab cluster REP elements GABA transport Escherichia coli 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eckhard Niegemann
    • 2
  • Arno Schulz
    • 1
  • Klaus Bartsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Hoechst AGFrankfurtGermany
  2. 2.Institut für MikrobiologieUniversität FrankfurtFrankfurtGermany

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