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Mol Gen Genet. 1992 Apr;232(3):359-66.

Identification of the structural genes for N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine amidase and its modifier in Bacillus subtilis 168: inactivation of these genes by insertional mutagenesis has no effect on growth or cell separation.

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Institut de génétique et de biologie microbiennes, Lausanne, Switzerland.


The region of the Bacillus subtilis 168 chromosome that contains the structural genes for the major vegetative cell autolysin, (N-acetyl-muramoyl-L-alanine amidase), and its modifier protein has been cloned. Insertional mutagenesis with integrative plasmids carrying small DNA fragments from this region has revealed that both genes are located on a 4 kb fragment; they are organised in one transcription unit, the modifier being transcribed first. Studies of derivatives in which either the amidase or the modifier or both proteins are inactivated have revealed that amidase-deficient strains are not affected in growth, cell separation, transformability or sporulation. Observed phenotypic differences were altered kinetics of, cell wall turn-over and a reduced rate of, autolysis of native cell wall preparations. A residual amidase activity, about 3% of that of the wild-type strain, was found in strains devoid of the major amidase. A new, distinct cell wall-bound protein, designated CWBP49', with the same molecular weight as the amidase, was identified in mutants devoid of the latter enzyme.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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