Organization of the Rhodobacter Capsulatus Carotenoid Biosynthesis Gene Cluster

  • Gregory A. Armstrong
  • Marie Alberti
  • Francesca Leach
  • John E. Hearst
Part of the FEMS Symposium book series (FEMSS)


Carotenoids are a major class of pigment molecules found in all photosynthetic organisms, and some nonphotosynthetic bacteria, fungi and yeasts (reviewed in Goodwin, 1980). In photosynthetic organisms carotenoids are not only essential physical quenchers of excited state triplet chlorophyll and bacteriochlorophyll (Bchl) and of singlet oxygen generated by these species, but also serve as accessory light-harvesting pigments (reviewed in Cogdell and Frank, 1987). The isolation of the R-prime plasmid pRPS404, containing a 46 kb region from the Rhodobacter capsulatus chromosome which complemented all known point mutation defects in photosynthesis, suggested that the genes encoding structural photosynthetic polypeptides and the enzymes of carotenoid and bacteriochlorophyll biosynthesis were clustered (Mans, 1981). The genes encoding the reaction center and light-harvesting I polypeptides, flanking the pigment biosynthesis genes, were subsequently located and sequenced (Youvan et al., 1984a), as were the unlinked genes encoding the light-harvesting II antenna polypeptides (Youvan and Ismail, 1985). No DNA sequences were previously available for the genes encoding carotenoid biosynthetic enzymes from any carotenogenic organism. Thus, the determination of the nucleotide sequence and the organization of the crt genes from R. capsulatus is essential both to further studies of the gene products and of gene regulation. We have focused our attention on the characterization of the subcluster of crt genes within the photosynthesis gene cluster (for a description of the carotenoid biosynthesis pathway see Armstrong et al., 1989). Seven of the eight previously identified R. capsulatus crt genes were known to be clustered on the BamHI-H, -G, -M, and -J fragments of pRPS404 in the order crtA, I, B, C, D, E, F from left to right on the genetic-physical map (Fig. 1) (Taylor et al., 1983; Zsebo and Hearst, 1984; Giuliano et al., 1988). These studies established that mutations causing Bchl-phenotypes map within these four BamHI fragments, flanking both ends of the crt gene cluster. We have determined the nucleotide sequence of an 11039 bp region encompassing the BamHI-H, -G, - M, and -J fragments of pRPS404 (Armstrong et al., 1989). The nucleotide sequence reveals the presence of a new gene, crtK, not described in previous studies. We present here a comprehensive analysis of the DNA sequence and the gene organization, and discuss nucleotide sequences potentially involved in the initiation, regulation and termination of transcription within this region.


Ribosome Binding Site Carotenoid Biosynthesis Photosynthesis Gene Carotenoid Biosynthesis Pathway Deduce Polypeptide Sequence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Armstrong, G. A., Alberti, M., Leach, F., and Hearst, J. E. (1989) Nucleotide sequence, organization, and nature of the protein products of the carotenoid biosynthesis gene cluster of Rhodobacter capsulatus, Mol. Gen. Genet., 216: 254–268.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Buck, M., Miller, S., Drummond, M., and Dixon, R. (1986) Upstream activator sequences are present in the promoters of nitrogen fixation genes, Nature, 320: 374–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen, C. Y., Beatty, J. T., Cohen, S. N., and Belasco, J. G. (1988) An intercistronic stem-loop structure functions as an mRNA decay terminator necessary but insufficient for puf mRNA stability, Cell, 52: 609–619.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Clark, W. G., Davidson, E., and Mans, B. L. (1984) Variation of levels of mRNA coding for antenna and reaction center polypeptides in Rhodopseudomonas capsulata in response to changes in oxygen concentration, J. Bacteriol., 157: 945–948.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Cogdell, R. J., and Frank, H. A. (1987) How carotenoids function in photosynthetic bacteria, Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 895: 63–79.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gabellini, N., and Sebald, W. (1986) Nucleotide sequence and transcription of the fbc operon from Rhodopseudomonas sphaeroides, Eur. J. Biochem., 154: 569–579.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gicquel-Sanzey, B., and Cossart, P. (1982) Homologies between different procaryotic DNA- binding regulatory proteins and between their sites of action, EMBO J., 1: 591–595.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Giuliano, G., Pollock, D., Stapp, H., and Scolnik, P. A. (1988) A genetic-physical map of the Rhodobacter capsulatus carotenoid biosynthesis gene cluster, Mol. Gen.Genet., 213: 78–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Goodwin, T. W. (1980) The Biochemistry of the Carotenoids: Plants, Chapman and Hall, Ltd., New York, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Kiley, P. J., and Kaplan, S. (1988) Molecular genetics of photosynthetic membrane biosynthesis in Rhodobacter sphaeroides. Microbiol. Rev., 52: 50–69.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Klug, G., Kaufmann, N., and Drews, G. (1985) Gene expression of pigment-binding proteins of the bacterial photosynthetic apparatus: transcription and assembly in the membrane of Rhodopseudomonas capsulate Part 1: 6485–6489.Google Scholar
  12. Marrs, B. (1981) Mobilization of the genes for photosynthesis from Rhodopseudomonas capsulata by a promiscuous plasmid, J. Bacteriol., 146: 1003–1012.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. McClure, W. R. (1985) Mechanism and control of transcription initiation in prokaryotes. Annu. Rev. Biochem., 54: 171–204.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Nussinov, R., Barber, A., and Maizel, J. V. (1987) The distributions of nucleotides near bacterial transcription initiation and termination sites show distinct signals that may affect DNA geometry, J. Mol. Evol., 26: 187–197.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Platt, T. (1986) Transcription termination and the regulation of gene expression, Annu. Rev. Biochem., 55: 339–372.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Pustell, J., and Kafatos, F. (1982) A convenient and adaptable package of DNA sequence analysis programs for microcomputers, Nucl. Acids. Res., 10: 51–59.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Stormo, G. D. (1986) Translation initiation, in: “Maximizing Gene Expression,” W. Reznikoff W and L. Gold, eds., Butterworths, Stoneham, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  18. Taylor, D. P., Cohen, S. N., Clark, W. G., and Marrs, B. L. (1983) Alignment of the genetic and restriction maps of the photosynthesis region of the Rhodopseudomonas capsulata chromosome by a conjugation-mediated marker rescue technique, J. Bacteriol., 154: 580–590.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Yang J., and Pittard, J. (1987) Molecular analysis of the regulatory region of the Escherichia coli K-12 tyrB gene, Part: 1–4715.Google Scholar
  20. Youvan, D. C., Bylina, E.J., Alberti, M., Begusch, H., and Hearst, J. E. (1984a) Nucleotide and deduced polypeptide sequences of the photosynthetic reaction-center, B870 antenna, and flanking polypeptides from R. capsulata, Cell, 37: 949–957.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Youvan, D. C., Alberti, M., Begusch, H., Bylina, E. J., and Hearst, J. E. (1984b) Reaction center and light-harvesting genes from Rhodopseudomonas capsulata, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., USA, 81: 189–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Youvan, D. C., and Ismail, S. (1985) Light-harvesting II (B800–B850 complex) structural genes from Rhodopseudomonas capsulata, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., USA, 82: 58–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Zhu, Y. S., and Hearst, J. E. (1986) Regulation of the expression of the genes for light-harvesting antenna proteins LH-I and LH-II; reaction center polypeptides RC-L, RC-M, and RC-H; and enzymes of bacteriochlorophyll and carotenoid biosynthesis in Rhodobacter capsulatus by light and oxygen, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., USA, 83: 7613–7617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Zhu, Y. S., Cook, D. N., Leach, F., Armstrong, G. A., Alberti, M., and Hearst, J. E. (1986) Oxygen-regulated mRNAs for light-harvesting and reaction center complexes and for bacteriochlorophyll and carotenoid biosynthesis in Rhodobacter capsulatus during the shift from anaerobic to aerobic growth, J Bacteriol., 168: 1180–1188.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Zsebo, K. M., and Hearst, J. E. (1984) Genetic-physical mapping of a photosynthetic gene cluster from R. capsulata, Cell, 37: 937–947.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Zucconi, A. P., and Beatty, J. T. (1988) Posttranscriptional regulation by light of the steady-state levels of mature B800–850 light-harvesting complexes in Rhodobacter capsulatus, J. Bacteriol., 170: 877–882.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory A. Armstrong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marie Alberti
    • 2
  • Francesca Leach
    • 2
  • John E. Hearst
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Division of Chemical BiodynamicsLawrence Berkeley LaboratoryBerkeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations