A second cellulose synthase gene (acsAII) coding for a 175-kDa polypeptide that is similar in size and sequence to the acsAB gene product has been identified in Acetobacter xylinum AY201. Evidence for the presence of this gene was obtained during analysis of A. xylinum mutants in which the acsAB gene was disrupted (I. M. Saxena, K. Kudlicka, K. Okuda, and R. M. Brown, Jr., J. Bacteriol. 176:5735-5752, 1994). Although these mutants produced no detectable cellulose, they exhibited significant cellulose synthase activity in vitro. The acsAII gene was isolated by using an acsAB gene fragment as a probe. The acsAII gene coded for cellulose synthase activity as determined from sequence analysis and study of mutants in which this gene was disrupted. A mutant in which only the acsAII gene was disrupted showed no significant differences in either the in vivo cellulose production or the in vitro cellulose synthase activity compared with wild-type cells. Mutants in which both the acsAII and acsAB genes were disrupted produced no cellulose in vivo and exhibited negligible cellulose synthase activity in vitro, thus confirming that the cellulose synthase activity observed in the acsAB mutant was coded by the acsAII gene. These results establish the presence of an additional gene for cellulose synthase expressed in cells of A. xylinum, yet this gene is not required for cellulose production when cells are grown under laboratory conditions.
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