Bacillus subtilis is the best-characterized member of the Gram-positive bacteria. Its genome of 4,214,810 base pairs comprises 4,100 protein-coding genes. Of these protein-coding genes, 53% are represented once, while a quarter of the genome corresponds to several gene families that have been greatly expanded by gene duplication, the largest family containing 77 putative ATP-binding transport proteins. In addition, a large proportion of the genetic capacity is devoted to the utilization of a variety of carbon sources, including many plant-derived molecules. The identification of five signal peptidase genes, as well as several genes for components of the secretion apparatus, is important given the capacity of Bacillus strains to secrete large amounts of industrially important enzymes. Many of the genes are involved in the synthesis of secondary metabolites, including antibiotics, that are more typically associated with Streptomyces species. The genome contains at least ten prophages or remnants of prophages, indicating that bacteriophage infection has played an important evolutionary role in horizontal gene transfer, in particular in the propagation of bacterial pathogenesis.
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