Inactivation of ribosomal protein genes in Bacillus subtilis reveals importance of each ribosomal protein for cell proliferation and cell differentiation

J Bacteriol. 2012 Nov;194(22):6282-91. doi: 10.1128/JB.01544-12. Epub 2012 Sep 21.


Among the 57 genes that encode ribosomal proteins in the genome of Bacillus subtilis, a Gram-positive bacterium, 50 genes were targeted by systematic inactivation. Individual deletion mutants of 16 ribosomal proteins (L1, L9, L15, L22, L23, L28, L29, L32, L33.1, L33.2, L34, L35, L36, S6, S20, and S21) were obtained successfully. In conjunction with previous reports, 22 ribosomal proteins have been shown to be nonessential in B. subtilis, at least for cell proliferation. Although several mutants that harbored a deletion of a ribosomal protein gene did not show any significant differences in any of the phenotypes that were tested, various mutants showed a reduced growth rate and reduced levels of 70S ribosomes compared with the wild type. In addition, severe defects in the sporulation frequency of the ΔrplA (L1) mutant and the motility of the ΔrpsU (S21) mutant were observed. These data provide the first evidence in B. subtilis that L1 and S21 are required for the progression of cellular differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / cytology
  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics
  • Bacillus subtilis / metabolism*
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Ribosomal Proteins / genetics
  • Ribosomal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors
  • Transcriptome


  • Ribosomal Proteins