Cloning and expression in Escherichia coli of the Klebsiella pneumoniae genes for production, surface localization and secretion of the lipoprotein pullulanase

EMBO J. 1987 Nov;6(11):3531-8.


This article describes the reconstitution in Escherichia coli of a heterologous protein secretion system comprising a gene for an extracellular protein together with its cognate secretion genes. The protein concerned, pullulanase, is a secreted lipoprotein of the Gram-negative bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae. It is initially localized to the cell surface before being specifically released into the medium. E. coli carrying the cloned pullulanase structural gene (pulA) produces pullulanase but does not expose or secrete it. Secretion genes were cloned together with pulA in an 18.8 kbp fragment of K. pneumoniae chromosomal DNA. E. coli carrying this fragment exhibited maltose-inducible production, exposition and specific secretion of pullulanase. Transposon mutagenesis showed that the secretion genes are located on both sides of pulA. Secretion genes located 5' to pulA were transcribed in the opposite orientation to pulA under the control of the previously identified, malT-regulated malX promoter. Thus these secretion genes are part of the maltose regulon and are therefore co-expressed with pulA. Transposon mutagenesis suggested that secretion genes located 3' of pulA are not co-transcribed with pulA, raising the possibility that some secretion functions are not maltose regulated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Genes*
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / genetics*
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / genetics*
  • Lipoproteins / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Lipoproteins
  • Glycoside Hydrolases
  • pullulanase