The cysB gene of Klebsiella aerogenes has been cloned, sequenced and shown to complement the cysteine auxotrophic phenotype of Escherichia coli cysB mutants. The K. aerogenes cysB gene is predicted to encode a protein of 324 amino acid residues that shares approx. 95% sequence similarity with the Salmonella typhimurium and E. coli CysB proteins. Gel-retardation assays demonstrate that the purified protein binds to DNA fragments containing either the K. aerogenes cysb promoter or the S. typhimurium cysJIH promoter. Acetylserine enhances CysB binding to the cysJIH promoter fragment while diminishing its binding to the cysB promoter fragment. Fluorescence-emission-spectroscopy measurements suggest strongly that N-acetylserine binds to CysB apoprotein but that O-acetylserine does not, and support the notion that N-acetylserine is the physiological inducer of cysteine biosynthesis.

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