The cytoplasm of the bacterium Thiobacillus neapolitanus contains 117 nm diameter polyhedral inclusions, “carboxysomes” (Fig. 1) that contain ribulose-1,5- bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO). Surrounding the polyhedron are nonmembranous proteinaceous plates devoid of lipid. The carboxysomes are composed of at least 8 major peptides, all coded within the same operon. Six (CsoSIA, CsoSIB, CsoSIC, CsoS2A, CsoS2B, and CsoS3) make up the shell, and two are the large (CbbL) and small subunits (CbbS) of RuBisCO. Using immunogold labeling on ultrathin sections, peptides CsoS2A, CsoS2B, and CsoS3 have been localized to the shell. Since the original characterization of the csoSl gene, we have also immunolocalized the CsoSl peptide to the shell.
As part of our initial efforts to understand how these components are assembled into the symmetrical, functional entity, the carboxysome operon from T. neapolitanus was cloned into the pET-21a(+) plasmid, an expression vector that codes for resistance to ampicillin.