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Gene. 1986;43(1-2):29-40.

Three classes of homologous Bacillus thuringiensis crystal-protein genes.


Four homologous genes encoding insecticidal crystal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis have been cloned in Escherichia coli. Differences in lengths of HindIII restriction fragments containing the 5' ends of the genes allowed the identification of three classes termed the '4.5- and 5.3- and 6.6-kb-class genes'. A survey of 24 strains from subspecies kurstaki and thuringiensis revealed strains containing one, two, or three of these classes of crystal protein genes. The 4.5- and 6.6-kb-class genes encode polypeptides of Mr 133,500 and 133,330, respectively, while the two 5.3-kb-class genes encode a ca. 130-kDa polypeptide. The polypeptide composition of crystals from the B. thuringiensis strains agreed with the composition predicted from the content of the three classes of genes. The representative genes from each class were isolated from B. thuringiensis plasmids of different sizes. An analysis of plasmid DNA flanking three of these genes revealed a complex pattern of two different inverted repeat (IR) sequences, IR2150 and IR1750. Four variant forms of IR1750 were found. The IR elements were located near deletions and rearrangements adjacent to crystal protein genes and may account for the diversity of plasmids carrying crystal protein genes in other subspecies of B. thuringiensis.

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