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Dreyfus, G; Gonzalez-Pedrajo, B; de la Mora, J; Ballado, T; Camarena, L (2007)


J BACTERIOL 189(22):7998-8004
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We have characterized open reading frame RSP0072, which is located within the flgG operon in Rhodobacter sphaeroides. The amino acid sequence analysis of this gene product showed the presence of a soluble lytic trans-glycosylase domain. The deletion of the N-terminal region (90 amino acids) of the product of RSP0072 yields a leaky nonmotile phenotype, as determined by swarm assays in soft agar. Electron micrographs revealed the lack of flagella in mutant cells. The purified wild-type protein showed lytic activity on extracts of Micrococcus luteus. In contrast, no lytic activity was observed when the residues E57 or E83 were replaced by alanine. Affinity blotting suggests that the protein encoded by RSP0072 interacts with the flagellar rod-scaffolding protein FlgJ, which lacks the muramidase domain present in FlgJ of many bacteria. We propose that the product of RSP0072 is a flagellar muramidase that is exported to the periplasm via the Sec pathway, where it interacts with F1gJ to open a gap in the peptidoglycan layer for the subsequent penetration of the nascent flagellar structure.