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Mol Microbiol. 1991 Jan;5(1):173-85.

The oligopeptide transport system of Bacillus subtilis plays a role in the initiation of sporulation.

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Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, Research Institute of Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, California 92037.


Bacillus subtilis spo0K mutants are blocked at the first step in sporulation. The spo0K strain was found to contain two mutations: one was linked to the trpS locus, and the other was elsewhere on the chromosome. The mutation linked to trpS was responsible for the sporulation defect (spo-). The unlinked mutation enhanced this sporulation deficiency but had no phenotype on its own. The spo- mutation was located in an operon of five genes highly homologous to the oligopeptide transport (Opp) system of Gram-negative species. Studies with toxic peptide analogues showed that this operon does indeed encode a peptide-transport system. However, unlike the Opp system of Salmonella typhimurium, one of the two ATP-binding proteins, OppF, was not required for peptide transport or for sporulation. The OppA peptide-binding protein, which is periplasmically located in Gram-negative species, has a signal sequence characteristic of lipoproteins with an amino-terminal lipo-amino acid anchor. Cellular location studies revealed that OppA was associated with the cell during exponential growth, but was released into the medium in stationary phase. A major role of the Opp system in Gram-negative bacteria is the recycling of cell-wall peptides as they are released from the growing peptidoglycan. We postulate that the accumulation of such peptides may play a signalling role in the initiation of sporulation, and that the sporulation defect in opp mutants results from an inability to transport these peptides.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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