DNA sequence and expression of the 36-kilodalton outer membrane protein gene of Brucella abortus. Academic Article uri icon


  • The cloning of the gene(s) encoding a 36-kilodalton (kDa) cell envelope protein of Brucella abortus has been previously described (T. A. Ficht, S. W. Bearden, B. A. Sowa, and L. G. Adams, Infect, Immun. 56:2036-2046, 1988). In an attempt to define the nature of the previously described duplication at this locus we have sequenced 3,500 base pairs of genomic DNA encompassing this region. The duplication represented two similar open reading frames which shared more than 85% homology at the nucleotide level but differed primarily because of the absence of 108 nucleotides from one of the two gene copies. These two genes were read from opposite strands and potentially encoded proteins which are 96% homologous. The predicted gene products were identical over the first 100 amino acids, including 22-amino-acid-long signal sequences. The amino acid composition of the predicted proteins was similar to that obtained for the Brucella porin isolated by Verstreate et al. (D. R. Verstreate, M. T. Creasy, N. T. Caveney, C. L. Baldwin, M. W. Blab, and A. J. Winter, Infect. Immun. 35:979-989, 1982) and presumably represented two copies of the porin gene, tentatively identified as omp 2a (silent) and omp 2b (expressed). The homology between the two genes extended to and included Shine-Dalgarno sequences 7 base pairs upstream from the ATG start codons. Homology at the 3' ends extended only as far as the termination codon, but both genes had putative rho-independent transcription termination sites. Localization of the promoters proved more difficult, since the canonical procaryotic sequences could not be identified in the region upstream of either gene. Promoter activity was demonstrated by ligation to a promoterless lacZ gene in pMC1871. However, only one active promoter could be identified by using this system. A 36-kDa protein was synthesized in E. coli with the promoter in the native orientation and was identical in size to the protein produced in laboratory-grown B. abortus. When the promoter-containing fragment was inverted, a 33-kDa protein was expressed. These results were consistent with the predicted sizes based on the nucleotide sequences of the open reading frames in omp 2b and omp 2a. Whether this locus contains one active and one silent or cryptic porin gene, or two active Brucella porin genes expressed under different environmental conditions, is discussed.

published proceedings

  • Infect Immun

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Ficht, T. A., Bearden, S. W., Sowa, B. A., & Adams, L. G.

citation count

  • 77

complete list of authors

  • Ficht, TA||Bearden, SW||Sowa, BA||Adams, LG

publication date

  • November 1989