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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Jul 1;89(13):5991-5.

Binding of the Bacillus subtilis spoIVCA product to the recombination sites of the element interrupting the sigma K-encoding gene.

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Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Paris, France.


The gene encoding sigma K, a transcription factor controlling mother-cell-specific gene expression at a late stage of sporulation, is interrupted by the skin element in Bacillus subtilis. The skin element is excised from the mother cell chromosome by a DNA rearrangement that depends on the spoIVCA gene product. This protein has no other role in sporulation than promoting skin excision and exhibits sequence similarity to a family of bacterial site-specific recombinases. An expression library of B. subtilis DNA in lambda gt11 was screened for the presence of a gene encoding a protein able to bind in vitro to an oligonucleotide matching the inverted repeat sequences present at the ends of the skin element. Several bacteriophages were found to contain the spoIVCA gene. A cell extract containing the SpoIVCA protein protected the inverted repeats and their neighboring sequences from DNase I digestion and methylation. SpoIVCA decreased the electrophoretic mobility of a DNA fragment containing its binding sequence and simultaneously bent the DNA. A single molecule of SpoIVCA bound initially to the repeat sequence followed by binding of a second molecule to create a complex straddling the recombination site.

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