Genetic analysis of cryIIIA gene expression in Bacillus thuringiensis.

Research paper by S S Salamitou, H H Agaisse, A A Bravo, D D Lereclus

Indexed on: 01 Aug '96Published on: 01 Aug '96Published in: Microbiology (Reading, England)


The Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cryIIIA gene is regulated by a different mechanism from that of most of the other cry genes. Its expression begins during late-exponential growth and not during sporulation as for the other classes of cry genes. Moreover, in Bacillus subtilis, cryIIIA expression is independent of the major sporulation-specific sigma factors and is increased in a spoOA genetic background. We used lacZ fusions and primer-extension analysis to follow the time-course of cryIIIA transcription in Bt wild-type and in various Spo- genetic backgrounds (spoOA, sigE and sigK). cryIIIA was activated from the end of vegetative growth to stage II of sporulation (t3) in the wild-type strain. Thereafter, transcription from the same promoter continued, at a decreasing rate, until the end of stage III. In the spoOA mutant strain, the same promoter was activated for at least 15 h during the stationary phase. cryIIIA activation in the sigK genetic background was similar to that in the wild-type but was extended in a sigma E mutant strain. Thus cryIIIA expression in Bt is not directly dependent on the major sporulation-specific sigma factors. Furthermore, an event linked with the thE-dependent period of sporulation ends cryIIIA activation, although transcription of this gene does not switch off before the end of stage III.