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J Bacteriol. 1993 Nov;175(21):6789-96.

Alanine dehydrogenase (ald) is required for normal sporulation in Bacillus subtilis.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139.


The ski22::Tn917lac insertion mutation in Bacillus subtilis was isolated in a screen for mutations that cause a defect in sporulation but are suppressed by the presence or overexpression of the histidine protein kinase encoded by kinA (spoIIJ). The ski22::Tn917lac insertion mutation was in ald, the gene encoding alanine dehydrogenase. Alanine dehydrogenase catalyzes the deamination of alanine to pyruvate and ammonia and is needed for growth when alanine is the sole carbon or nitrogen source. The sporulation defect caused by null mutations in ald was partly relieved by the addition of pyruvate at a high concentration, indicating that the normal role of alanine dehydrogenase in sporulation might be to generate pyruvate to provide an energy source for sporulation. The spoVN::Tn917 mutation was also found to be an allele of ald. Transcription of ald was induced very early during sporulation and by the addition of exogenous alanine during growth. Expression of ald was normal in all of the regulatory mutants tested, including spo0A, spo0K, comA, sigB, and sigD mutants. The only gene in which mutations affected expression of ald was ald itself. This regulation is probably related to the metabolism of alanine.

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