The genes encoding the major cell wall proteins, middle wall protein and outer wall protein, of Bacillus brevis 47 constitute a cotranscriptional unit (cwp [cell wall protein gene] operon). Primer extension assay of cwp operon transcripts showed the existence of six different 5' ends. This confirmed the results of the previous S1 nuclease protection assay and suggested the existence of several tandemly arranged promoters in the 5' region of the cwp operon. Promoter probe vectors carrying the Bacillus licheniformis alpha-amylase gene were constructed and used for deletion analysis of the 5' region. Three (P1, P2, and P3) of the six suggested promoters were shown to be located within three distinct fragments derived from the 5' region. The -35 and -10 regions of the P1 and P3 promoters resemble the consensus sequence recognized by the sigma-43-type RNA polymerase of Bacillus subtilis. The P2 promoter resembles only the consensus sequence in the -10 region. The P1 and P3 promoters were used to the same extents in Bacillus subtilis as in B. brevis, whereas the P2 promoter was used much less frequently in B. subtilis than in B. brevis. The P2 promoter is used constitutively in B. brevis 47 at all stages of growth, whereas P3 is used only at the exponential phase of growth. P2 could be a promoter of an unknown type that is preferentially used in B. brevis and might be responsible for the constitutive synthesis and secretion of the cell wall proteins into the medium at the stationary phase of growth
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