Genetic evidence for superoperonal organization of genes for photosynthetic pigments and pigment-binding proteins in Rhodobacter capsulatus

Mol Gen Genet. 1989 Jul;218(1):1-12. doi: 10.1007/BF00330558.


Three adjacent operons, each concerned with photosynthesis in Rhodobacter capsulatus, have been shown by genetic means to be cotranscribable. In the course of describing the characteristics of the bchCA operon, which encodes two enzymes essential for bacteriochlorophyll synthesis, we found that the expression of the bchCA genes is influenced by readthrough from the upstream crtE and crtF genes. The crtE and crtF genes encode enzymes required for carotenoid biosynthesis and function as an operon. Furthermore, the distal structural gene of the bchCA operon, bchA, contains within it both the major oxygen-regulated promotor (Ppuf1) and the constitutive (Ppuf2) promotor for the puf operon. Since these three operons, crtEF, bchCA, and puf, are all transcribed in the same direction, it appears that polymerases traversing the downstream regions may start at any of several promoters. This pattern of transcription, which is unusual among bacteria, demonstrates that the activities of individual operons in a superoperonal cluster may be affected by their positions within the cluster.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteriochlorophylls / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Carotenoids / genetics
  • Chlorophyll / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family*
  • Operon*
  • Photosynthesis*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Bacteriochlorophylls
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Chlorophyll
  • Carotenoids
  • beta-Galactosidase