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Biotechnol Annu Rev. 2000;5:131-54.

Transcription of the insecticidal crystal protein genes of Bacillus thuringiensis.

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  • 1Department of Genetic Engineering, Faculty of Biology-oriented Science and Technology, Kinki University, Wakayama, Japan.


Production of a large amount of insecticidal crystal proteins encoded on large plasmids is largely dependent upon the mother cell, Bacillus thuringiensis (B. thuringiensis, also Bt), specific transcription systems attributable to sporulation. In the middle stages of sporulation, cry4A is most actively transcribed from the promoter cry4A-P1. The proximal transcriptional start point of cry4A, which is under the control of the promoter P1, is used in Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) in the middle stage of sporulation. The nucleotide sequence that determines the cry4A-P1 promoter is homologous to the consensus sequence for the promoter of sigma E-specific genes in B. subtilis, and to those promoters of the insecticidal protein genes that are efficiently transcribed in vitro with the RNA polymerase E sigma 35 isolated from B. thuringiensis. The sigma factor sigma 35 of B. thuringiensis is highly homologous and functionally equivalent to sigma E of B. subtilis. These results suggest that the cry4A transcription from P1 is under the control of sigma E in B. subtilis, and under the control of sigma 35 in B. thuringiensis.

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