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J Bacteriol. 1998 Apr;180(7):1655-61.

The ars operon in the skin element of Bacillus subtilis confers resistance to arsenate and arsenite.

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  • 1Department of Applied Biological Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Fuchu, Japan.


The Bacillus subtilis skin element confers resistance to arsenate and arsenite. The ars operon in the skin element contains four genes in the order arsR, ORF2, arsB, and arsC. Three of these genes are homologous to the arsR, arsB, and arsC genes from the staphylococcal plasmid pI258, while no homologs of ORF2 have been found. Inactivation of arsR, arsB, or arsC results in either constitutive expression of ars, an arsenite- and arsenate-sensitive phenotype, or an arsenate-sensitive phenotype, respectively. These results suggest that ArsR, ArsB, and ArsC function as a negative regulator, a membrane-associated protein need for extrusion of arsenite, and arsenate reductase, respectively. Expression of the ars operon was induced by arsenate, arsenite, and antimonite. Northern hybridization and primer extension analysis showed that synthesis of a full-length ars transcript of about 2.4 kb was induced by arsenate and that the ars promoter contains sequences that resemble the -10 and -35 regions of promoters that are recognized by E sigmaA.

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