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J Bacteriol. 2010 Sep;192(17):4317-26. doi: 10.1128/JB.00335-10. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

Identification of a receptor subunit and putative ligand-binding residues involved in the Bacillus megaterium QM B1551 spore germination response to glucose.

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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


The molecular basis for the recognition of glucose as a germinant molecule by spores of Bacillus megaterium QM B1551 has been examined. A chromosome-located locus (BMQ_1820, renamed gerWB) is shown to encode a receptor B-protein subunit that interacts with the GerUA and GerUC proteins to form a receptor that is cognate for both glucose and leucine. GerWB represents the third receptor B protein that binds to glucose in this strain. Site-directed mutagenesis (SDM) experiments conducted on charged proline and aromatic residues predicted to reside in the transmembrane domains of a previously characterized receptor B protein, GerVB, reveal the importance to receptor function of a cluster of residues predicted to reside in the middle of the transmembrane 6 (TM6) domain. Reductions in the region of 70- to 165-fold in the apparent affinity of receptors for glucose in which Glu196, Tyr191, and Phe192 are individually replaced by SDM indicate that some or all of these residues may be directly involved in the binding of glucose and perhaps other germinants to the germinant receptor.

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