The nucleotide sequence of a 2.37 kb DNA fragment derived from cloning a total DNA digest of Rhodopseudomonas capsulata sp108 was determined. The DNA codes for a beta-lactamase, a protein showing sequence similarity to the ampR protein of Enterobacter cloacae and an unidentified open reading frame. Hybridization experiments with a probe carrying DNA from within the beta-lactamase gene suggests a chromosomal location for the coding sequences in strain sp108 and in sp109, a penicillin-sensitive revertant of sp108 in which the enzyme is not inducible. A protein-sequence comparison of the deduced amino acid sequence of the Rps. capsulata beta-lactamase indicates that it is a Class A enzyme and that its sequence can be aligned with those of the characterized beta-lactamases from Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus licheniformis and the Escherichia coli plasmid (R-TEM enzyme), with only a few insertions or deletions. The corresponding DNA sequence is, however, characteristically rhodopseudomonad, suggesting that it is not a recently transposed gene.

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