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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2015 Mar;99(5):2255-66. doi: 10.1007/s00253-014-6291-5. Epub 2014 Dec 19.

The two putative comS homologs of the biotechnologically important Bacillus licheniformis do not contribute to competence development.

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Institut für Molekulare Mikrobiologie und Biotechnologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Corrensstrasse 3, 48149, Münster, Germany.


In Bacillus subtilis, natural genetic competence is subject to complex genetic regulation and quorum sensing dependent. Upon extracellular accumulation of the peptide-pheromone ComX, the membrane-bound sensor histidine kinase ComP initiates diverse signaling pathways by activating-among others-DegQ and ComS. While DegQ favors the expression of extracellular enzymes rather than competence development, ComS is crucial for competence development as it prevents proteolytic degradation of ComK, the key transcriptional activator of all genes required for the uptake and integration of DNA. In Bacillus licheniformis, ComX/ComP sensed cell density negatively influences competence development, suggesting differences from the quorum-sensing-dependent control mechanism in Bacillus subtilis. Here, we show that each of six investigated strains possesses both of two different, recently identified putative comS genes. When expressed from an inducible promoter, none of the comS candidate genes displayed an impact on competence development neither in B. subtilis nor in B. licheniformis. Moreover, disruption of the genes did not reduce transformation efficiency. While the putative comS homologs do not contribute to competence development, we provide evidence that the degQ gene as for B. subtilis negatively influences genetic competency in B. licheniformis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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