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J Bacteriol. 2002 Apr;184(7):1998-2004.

Analysis of the Bacillus subtilis spoIIIJ gene and its Paralogue gene, yqjG.

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International Environmental and Agricultural Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-8509, Japan.


The Bacillus subtilis spoIIIJ gene, which has been proven to be vegetatively expressed, has also been implicated as a sporulation gene. Recent genome sequencing information in many organisms reveals that spoIIIJ and its paralogous gene, yqjG, are conserved from prokaryotes to humans. A homologue of SpoIIIJ/YqjG, the Escherichia coli YidC is involved in the insertion of membrane proteins into the lipid bilayer. On the basis of this similarity, it was proposed that the two homologues act as translocase for the membrane proteins. We studied the requirements for spoIIIJ and yqjG during vegetative growth and sporulation. In rich media, the growth of spoIIIJ and yqjG single mutants were the same as that of the wild type, whereas spoIIIJ yqjG double inactivation was lethal, indicating that together these B. subtilis translocase homologues play an important role in maintaining the viability of the cell. This result also suggests that SpoIIIJ and YqjG probably control significantly overlapping functions during vegetative growth. spoIIIJ mutations have already been established to block sporulation at stage III. In contrast, disruption of yqjG did not interfere with sporulation. We further show that high level expression of spoIIIJ during vegetative phase is dispensable for spore formation, but the sporulation-specific expression of spoIIIJ is necessary for efficient sporulation even at the basal level. Using green fluorescent protein reporter to monitor SpoIIIJ and YqjG localization, we found that the proteins localize at the cell membrane in vegetative cells and at the polar and engulfment septa in sporulating cells. This localization of SpoIIIJ at the sporulation-specific septa may be important for the role of spoIIIJ during sporulation.

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