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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007 Oct;71(10):2458-64. Epub 2007 Oct 7.

Determination and characterization of IS4Bsu1-insertion loci and identification of a new insertion sequence element of the IS256 family in a natto starter.

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Division of Applied Microbiology, National Food Research Institute, Japan.


The insertion sequence IS4Bsu1 frequently causes Bacillus subtilis starters for the production of Japanese fermented soybean pasts (natto) to lose the ability to produce poly-gamma-glutamate, the viscous material characteristic of natto. Bacillus subtilis NAFM5, a derivative of a natto starter, has six IS4Bsu1 copies on its chromosome. In this study, we determined all six insertion loci of the insertion sequence (IS). One was located in the coding region of yktD, a putative gene involved in polyketide synthesis. Four were located in non-coding regions between iolR and iolA, between tuaA and lytC, between rapI and orf1 (a potential gene of unknown function), and between ynaE and orf3 (a putative gene similar to thiF), and one resided in an intergenic region between divergent possible orf4 and orf5 genes of unknown function. Here we describe the structural features of these loci and discuss the effects of the IS4Bsu1 insertions on the functions of the target gene and the expression of the downstream genes. In addition, we found that strain NAFM5 and commercial natto starters possess eight to 10 loci of another IS of the IS256 family (designated IS256Bsu1) on their chromosomes. IS256Bus1 appeared active in transposition, potentially causing phenotypic alterations in natto starters like those induced by IS4Bsu1.

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