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The gene encoding the valine (branched-chain amino acid) dehydrogenase (Vdh) from Streptomyces coelicolor has been characterized as follows. The vdh gene was identified by hybridization to a specific oligodeoxynucleotide that was synthesized on the basis of the N-terminal amino acid sequence of purified Vdh. Nucleotide sequence analysis predicts that the vdh gene contains a 364-amino-acid open reading frame that should produce a 38,305-M(r) protein. The deduced amino acid sequence of the Vdh protein is significantly similar to those of several other amino acid dehydrogenases, especially the leucine and phenylalanine dehydrogenases from Bacillus spp. The vdh gene is apparently transcribed from a single major transcriptional start point, separated by only 8 bp from the 5' end of a divergent transcript and located 63 bp upstream from the vdh translational start point. Mutants with a disrupted vdh gene have no detectable Vdh activity and have lost the ability to grow on valine, leucine, or isoleucine as the sole nitrogen source. This vdh mutation does not significantly affect growth or actinorhodin production in a minimal medium, yet the addition of 0.2% L-valine to the medium provokes approximately 32 and 80% increases in actinorhodin production in vdh+ and vdh strains, respectively.