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J Bacteriol. 1997 Apr;179(8):2472-8.

Structure and regulation of expression of the Bacillus subtilis valyl-tRNA synthetase gene.

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UPR 9073, CNRS, Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Paris, France.


We have sequenced the valyl-tRNA synthetase gene (valS) of Bacillus subtilis and found an open reading frame coding for a protein of 880 amino acids with a molar mass of 101,749. The predicted amino acid sequence shares strong similarity with the valyl-tRNA synthetases from Bacillus stearothermophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Escherichia coli. Extracts of B. subtilis strains overexpressing the valS gene on a plasmid have increased valyl-tRNA aminoacylation activity. Northern analysis shows that valS is cotranscribed with the folC gene (encoding folyl-polyglutamate synthetase) lying downstream. The 300-bp 5' noncoding region of the gene contains the characteristic regulatory elements, T box, "specifier codon" (GUC), and rho-independant transcription terminator of a gene family in gram-positive bacteria that encodes many aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and some amino acid biosynthetic enzymes and that is regulated by tRNA-mediated antitermination. We have shown that valS expression is induced by valine limitation and that the specificity of induction can be switched to threonine by changing the GUC (Val) specifier triplet to ACC (Thr). Overexpression of valS from a recombinant plasmid leads to autorepression of a valS-lacZ transcriptional fusion. Like induction by valine starvation, autoregulation of valS depends on the presence of the GUC specifier codon. Disruption of the valS gene was not lethal, suggesting the existence of a second gene, as is the case for both the thrS and the tyrS genes.

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