The ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase gene cluster of Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath)
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The genes encoding the ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) from Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath) were localised to an 8.3-kb EcoRI fragment of the genome. Genes encoding the large subunit (cbbL), small subunit (cbbS) and putative regulatory gene (cbbQ) were shown to be located on one cluster. Surprisingly, cbbO, a second putative regulatory gene, was not located in the remaining 1.2-kb downstream (3′) of cbbQ. However, probing of the M. capsulatus (Bath) genome with cbbO from Nitrosomonas europaea demonstrated that a cbbO homologue was contained within a separate 3.0-kb EcoRI fragment. Instead of a cbbR ORF being located upstream (5′) of cbbL, there was a moxR-like ORF that was transcribed in the opposite direction to cbbL. There were three additional ORFs within the large 8.3-kb EcoRI fragment: a pyrE-like ORF, an rnr-like ORF and an incomplete ORF with no sequence similarity to any known protein. Phylogenetic analysis of cbbL from M. capsulatus (Bath) placed it within clade A of the green-type Form 1 Rubisco. cbbL was expressed in M. capsulatus (Bath) when grown with methane as a sole carbon and energy source under both copper-replete and copper-limited conditions. M. capsulatus (Bath) was capable of autotrophic growth on solid medium but not in liquid medium. Preliminarily investigations suggested that other methanotrophs may also be capable of autotrophic growth. Rubisco genes were also identified, by PCR, in Methylococcus-like strains and Methylocaldum species; however, no Rubisco genes were found in Methylomicrobium album BG8, Methylomonas methanica S1, Methylomonas rubra, Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b or Methylocystis parvus OBBP.
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