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Arch Microbiol. 2000 Jul-Aug;174(1-2):97-103.

The transposable element IS4712 prevents S-layer gene (sbsA) expression in Bacillus stearothermophilus and also affects the synthesis of altered surface layer proteins.

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Institute of Animal Hygiene and Public Veterinary Health, Leipzig, Germany.


Cell surface (S)-layer protein synthesis in Bacillus stearothermophilus PV72/p6 is blocked when cells are grown at elevated temperature. From a culture exhibiting the S-layer-negative phenotype, the S-layer deficient mutant T5 (SbsA-) was isolated. Genetic analysis of the S-layer-encoding gene (sbsA) of mutant T5 revealed an insertion element (IS4712) integrated into the upstream regulatory region of the S-layer gene, thereby blocking sbsA transcription. The insertion element consists of 1371 base pairs which are flanked by two perfect inverted terminal repeats. Sequence similarity to other transposases of the IS4 family was detected. DNA-DNA hybridizations demonstrated that multiple homologues of IS4712 were also present within the genomes of several other thermophilic bacillus isolates. Attempts to isolate SbsA+ revertants failed. Instead, cells with altered surface proteins were detected. The synthesis of the altered S-layer proteins was correlated with the presence of IS4712 along with the occurrence of deletions in the sbsA coding region. Furthermore imprecise excision of IS4712 was detected. This work demonstrated that B. stearothermophilus is able to express at least four different S-layer proteins and that blocking of sbsA transcription by the insertion element IS4712 is associated with the expression of altered surface proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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