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Mol Microbiol. 1995 Jan;15(1):55-63.

A small gene, designated comS, located within the coding region of the fourth amino acid-activation domain of srfA, is required for competence development in Bacillus subtilis.

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Department of Genetics, University of Groningen, Haren, The Netherlands.


The valine-activation domain-encoding portion of the srfA locus (srfA-d4) is not only involved in the non-ribosomal synthesis of surfactin, but is also required for the regulation of competence development. In this study we show that impairment of the adenylation activity of the valine-activating domain did not affect competence development. Deletion analysis and complementation studies delineated the competence-required portion of srfA-d4 to a 168 bp fragment, which contains a small open reading frame (ORF), designated comS, encoding a polypeptide of 46 amino acids, embedded within, but translated in, a frame different from that of srfA-d4. Introduction of an amber mutation in the comS-coding frame prevented competence development, demonstrating the involvement of comS in this prokaryotic specialization process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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