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J Bacteriol. 1991 Jan;173(2):678-86.

The Bacillus subtilis sin gene, a regulator of alternate developmental processes, codes for a DNA-binding protein.

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Department of Microbiology, Public Health Research Institute, New York, New York.


The sin gene of Bacillus subtilis encodes a dual-function regulatory protein, Sin, which is a negative as well as a positive regulator of alternate developmental processes that are induced at the end of vegetative growth in response to nutrient depletion. Sin has been purified to homogeneity by using a simple two-step procedure. It was found to bind to the developmentally regulated aprE (alkaline protease) gene at two sites in vitro. The stronger Sin-binding site (SBS-1) is located more than 200 bp upstream from the transcription start site. It is required for Sin repression of aprE expression in vivo, as strains bearing SBS-1 deletions were not affected by the sin gene. The second, weaker Sin-binding site lies on a DNA fragment that contains the aprE promoter. Results of DNase I, exonuclease III, and dimethyl sulfate footprinting analysis of SBS-1 suggested that Sin binding involves two adjacent binding sites which appear to contain two different partial dyad symmetries. An analysis of the predicted amino acid sequence of Sin revealed a potential leucine zipper protein dimerization motif which is flanked by two helix-turn-helix motifs that could be involved in recognizing two different dyad symmetries.

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