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J Biol Chem. 1991 Jul 15;266(20):13411-7.

The transition state regulator Hpr of Bacillus subtilis is a DNA-binding protein.

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Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, Research Institute of Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, California 92037.


The synthesis of a variety of proteins, including the well characterized degradative enzymes, which occurs during the transition state between vegetative growth and the onset of sporulation in Bacillus subtilis is controlled by a class of molecules known as transition state regulators. One of these regulators is the product of the hpr gene, first identified by mutations affecting the synthesis of extracellular proteases. We have purified the Hpr protein and found that it binds specifically to DNA fragments carrying the promoters and the upstream regions of the alkaline (aprE) and neutral (nprE) protease genes of B. subtilis. DNase I protection experiments revealed that the Hpr protein is able to bind at four and two regions of the aprE and nprE promoters, respectively. We have also located two Hpr binding sites in the promoter region of a gene of unknown function which is nevertheless known to be developmentally regulated during the transition state and which occurs in the same operon as the gene encoding another transition state regulator, Sin. The location of one of the Hpr binding sites on the aprE gene occurs adjacent to a region to which the Sin protein binds. However, in mixing competition experiments we have shown that Hpr and Sin binding occurred independently, and no visible alterations of protected regions were detected.

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