Spermidine biosynthesis in Escherichia coli: promoter and termination regions of the speED operon.
Two enzymes, S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase and spermidine synthase, are essential for the biosynthesis of spermidine in Escherichia coli. We have previously shown that the genes encoding these enzymes (speD and speE) form an operon and that the area immediately upstream from the speE gene is necessary for the expression of both the speE and speD genes. We have now studied the upstream promoter and the downstream terminator regions of this operon more completely. We have shown that the major mRNA initiation site (Ia) of the operon is located 475 base pairs (bp) upstream from the speE gene and that there is an open reading frame that encodes for a polypeptide of 115 amino acids between the Ia site and the ATG start codon for the speE gene. Downstream from the stop codon for the speD gene is a potential hairpin structure immediately followed by an mRNA termination site, t. An additional mRNA termination site, t', is present about 110 bp downstream from t and is stronger than t. By comparing our DNA fragments with those prepared from this region of the E. coli chromosome by Kohara et al., we have located the speED operon on the physical map of the E. coli chromosome. We have shown that the orientation of the speED operon is counterclockwise and that the operon is located 137.5 to 140 kbp (2.9 minutes) clockwise from the zero position of the E. coli chromosomal map.