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Mol Microbiol. 2000 May;36(3):638-50.

Genes required for cytochrome c synthesis in Bacillus subtilis.

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Department of Microbiology, Lund University, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden.


Cytochromes of c-type contain covalently bound haem and in bacteria are located on the periplasmic side of the cytoplasmic membrane. More than eight different gene products have been identified as being specifically required for the synthesis of cytochromes c in Gram-negative bacteria. Corresponding genes are not found in the genome sequences of Gram-positive bacteria. Using two random mutagenesis approaches, we have searched for cytochrome c biogenesis genes in the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis. Three genes, resB, resC and ccdA, were identified. CcdA has been found previously and is required for a late step in cytochrome c synthesis and also plays a role in spore synthesis. No function has previously been assigned for ResB and ResC but these predicted membrane proteins show sequence similarity to proteins required for cytochrome c synthesis in chloroplasts. Attempts to inactivate resB and resC in B. subtilis have indicated that these genes are essential for growth. We demonstrate that various nonsense mutations in resB or resC can block synthesis of cytochromes c with no effect on other types of cytochromes and little effect on sporulation and growth. The results strongly support the recent proposal that Gram-positive bacteria, cyanobacteria, epsilon-proteobacteria, and chloroplasts have a similar type of machinery for cytochrome c synthesis (System II), which is very different from those of most Gram-negative bacteria (System I) and mitochondria (System III).

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