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Mol Microbiol. 1998 Jul;29(1):343-57.

A developmentally regulated gene encoding a repressor-like protein is essential for sporulation in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2).

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John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, UK.


whiH is one of several known loci specifically needed for the orderly multiple sporulation septation of aerial hyphae of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) and for the expression of at least some late sporulation genes. DNA complementing whiH mutants was located immediately upstream on hrdB, which encodes the principal sigma factor of S. coelicolor. Sequencing revealed a gene whose disruption gave rise to a typical whiH mutant phenotype. Four whiH mutants contained base changes or a frameshift in this gene. The deduced product of whiH related to a large family of bacterial regulatory proteins, the most similar being several repressors (such as GntR of Bacillus subtilis) responsive to carboxylate-containing intermediates in carbon metabolism. Transcription of whiH was initiated at a single promoter, PwhiH. Levels of whiH mRNA were developmentally regulated, increasing sharply when aerial mycelium was present, and reaching a maximum approximately when spores were first detectable. Transcript levels were markedly increased in a whiH mutant, indicating the possible involvement of WhiH in negative regulation of its own production. PwhiH was directly dependent on the sigma factor encoded by another sporulation gene, whiG, as shown by in vivo and in vitro transcription analysis.

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