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J Bacteriol. 1995 Feb;177(3):765-73.

Bacillus subtilis possesses a second determinant with extensive sequence similarity to the Escherichia coli mreB morphogene.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia 29208.


A gene with substantial sequence similarity to the mreB morphogene of Bacillus subtilis has been identified at 302 degrees on the chromosomal map by A. Decatur, B. Kunkel, and R. Losick (Harvard University; personal communication). Our characterization has revealed that the protein product of this determinant (termed mbl for mreB-like) is 55 and 53% identical in sequence to the MreB proteins of B. subtilis and Escherichia coli, respectively. The protein is 86% identical to a protein identified as MreB from Bacillus cereus, suggesting that the B. cereus protein is actually Mbl. Insertional inactivation of mbl indicated that this gene is not essential for cell viability or sporulation. Cells bearing mutant mbl alleles display a decreased growth rate and an altered cellular morphology. The cells appear bloated and are frequently twisted. Intergenic suppressor mutations which restore the growth rate to an approximately normal level arise within the mutant population. A second site mutation, designated som-1, was mapped to the hisA-mbl region of the chromosome by transduction.

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