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J Bacteriol. 1990 December; 172(12): 7211–7226.
PMCID: PMC210846

An apparent Bacillus subtilis folic acid biosynthetic operon containing pab, an amphibolic trpG gene, a third gene required for synthesis of para-aminobenzoic acid, and the dihydropteroate synthase gene.


McDonald and Burke (J. Bacteriol. 149:391-394, 1982) previously cloned a sulfanilamide-resistance gene, sul, residing on a 4.9-kb segment of Bacillus subtilis chromosomal DNA, into plasmid pUB110. In this study we determined the nucleotide sequence of the entire 4.9-kb fragment. Genes identified on the fragment include pab, trpG, pabC, sul, one complete unidentified open reading frame, and one incomplete unidentified open reading frame. The first three of these genes, pab, trpG, and pabC, are required for synthesis of p-aminobenzoic acid. The trpG gene encodes an amphibolic glutamine amidotransferase required for synthesis of both p-aminobenzoate and anthranilate, the latter an intermediate in the tryptophan biosynthetic pathway. The pabC gene may encode a B. subtilis analog of enzyme X, an enzyme needed for p-aminobenzoate synthesis in Escherichia coli. The sul gene probably encodes dihydropteroate synthase, the enzyme responsible for formation of 7,8-dihydropteroate, the immediate precursor of folic acid. All six of the cloned genes are arranged in a single operon. Since all four of the identified genes are needed for folate biosynthesis, we refer to this operon as a folic acid operon. Expression of the trpG gene is known to be negatively controlled by tryptophan. We propose that this regulation is at the level of translation. This hypothesis is supported by the finding of an apparent Mtr-binding site which overlaps with the trpG ribosome-binding site.

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