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Mol Microbiol. 1990 Feb;4(2):275-82.

The regulation of transcription of the gerA spore germination operon of Bacillus subtilis.

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1
Krebs Institute, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, UK.

Abstract

The gerA operon of Bacillus subtilis 168 comprises three genes concerned with the triggering of spore germination by L-alanine and its analogues. The expression of this operon has been characterized using chromosomal lacZ fusions to the gerA promoter. The gerA promoter is switched on 2.5-3 hours after the initiation of sporulation, in parallel with glucose dehydrogenase. A high proportion of the gerA-driven beta-galactosidase detected in sporulating cells is found in the mature spore; the gerA promoter is therefore active in the forespore compartment of the sporulating cell. The gerA promoter is not expressed in spoO, spoII or spoIIIA, B, E and G mutant backgrounds, but is expressed in spoIIIC and D and in spoIV and V mutants. The in vivo transcriptional startpoint of the operon has been mapped by primer extension experiments; sequences upstream from this startpoint show significant homology with recognition sequences for RNA polymerase containing sigma G (E sigma G). The gerA operon was transcribed in vitro by E sigma G with a startpoint identical to that used in vivo, and expression of the gerA operon was rapidly induced in vegetative cells by induction of sigma G synthesis. These data indicate that the gerA operon is an additional member of the sigma G regulon, which includes a number of genes expressed in parallel only in the forespore compartment of sporulating B. subtilis cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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