Analysis of the spc ribosomal protein operon of Thermus aquaticus.
The gene region of Thermus aquaticus corresponding to the distal portion of the S10 operon and to the 5'-portion of the Escherichia coli spc operon was cloned, using the E. coli gene for the ribosomal protein L5 as hybridization probe. The gene arrangement was found to be identical to E. coli, i.e. S17, L14, L24, L5, S14, S8 and L6. Stop and start regions of contiguous cistrons overlap, except for the S14-S intergenic region, whose size (67 bases) even exceeds the corresponding spacer regions in E. coli and Bacillus subtilis. A G + C content of 94% in third positions of codons was found in the ribosomal protein genes of T. aquaticus analyzed here. The stop codon of gene S17 (the last gene of the S10 operon in E. coli) and the start codon of gene L14 (the first gene
of the spc operon in E. coli) overlap in T. aquaticus, thus leaving no space to accomodate an intergenic promoter preceding spc-operon-encoded genes in T. aquaticus. A possible promoter, localized within the S17 coding region, yielded only weak resistance (20 pg/ml) to chloramphenicol in E. coli and therefore could be largely excluded as the main promoter for spc-operon-encoded genes. We failed to detect a structure resembling the protein S8 translational repressor site, located at the beginning of the L5 gene in E. coli, in the corresponding region or any other region in the cloned T. aquaticus spc DNA.