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J Bacteriol. 1995 Feb;177(3):614-20.

Characterization of the Bacillus anthracis S-layer: cloning and sequencing of the structural gene.

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Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire des Toxines, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


Bacillus anthracis, a gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium, is the etiological agent of anthrax. The gene coding for the S-layer protein (sap) was cloned on two contiguous fragments in Escherichia coli, and the complete sequence of the structural gene was determined. The protein, Sap, is composed of 814 residues, including a classical prokaryotic 29-amino-acid signal peptide. The mature form has a calculated molecular mass of 83.7 kDa and a molecular mass of 94 kDa on a sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel. Sap possesses many charged residues, is weakly acidic, and contains only 0.9% methionine and no cysteine residues. The N-terminal region of Sap shares sequence similarities with the Acetogenium kivui S-layer protein, the Bacillus brevis middle wall protein, the Thermotoga maritima Omp alpha protein, and the Bacillus thuringiensis S-layer protein. Electron microscopy observations showed that this S-layer is not observed on B. anthracis cells in which sap has been deleted.

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