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On the identity of dnaP and dnaF genes of Bacillus subtilis

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The dnaP strains of Bacillus subtilis are altered in the initiation of DNA replication at high temperature (Riva et al., 1975). Fine mapping of the gene shows that it is located very close to the dnaF gene, described by Karamata and Gross (1970) and mapped by Love et al. (1976) in the polC region. The phenotype of both mutants is indistinguishable: the DNA synthesis stops at non permissive temperature after synthesizing an amount of DNA equivalent to the completion of the rounds of replication already initiated; at permissive temperature they are abnormally sensitive to MMS and are reduced in the ability to be transformed. Both mutants are to be considered as belonging to the dnaF locus.

The dnaF gene is very close to the polC gene, which specifies the DNA polymerase III of B. subtilis. The DNA polymerase III of the dnaF mutants is not temperature sensitive in vitro, however, the level of this enzyme is lower by a factor of 4 or 5 in the dnaF mutants, at the permissive temperature. Following shift of dnaF cultures to the non permissive temperature, the level of DNA polymerase III activity specifically decreases further by a factor of at least 10 in the mutant, whereas the DNA polymerase I level is unaffected.

The possible roles of the dnaF gene in the control of the cellular level of the DNA polymerase III, and the possibility of a regulatory role of DNA polymerase III in the initiation of DNA replication in bacteria are discussed.

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6-(p-hydroxyphenylazo)-uracil; mic, minimum inhibitory concentration



Pol I:

Pol II and Pol III: DNA polymerase I, II and III respectively




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Attolini, C., Mazza, G., Fortunato, A. et al. On the identity of dnaP and dnaF genes of Bacillus subtilis . Molec. Gen. Genet. 148, 9–17 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00268540

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  • Enzyme
  • Bacillus
  • Bacillus Subtilis
  • Cellular Level
  • Regulatory Role