We have determined the nucleotide sequence of a 3706 bp stretch of chromosomal DNA that complements all known mutations. The sequence contains five consecutive large open reading frames capable of encoding proteins of molecular weights ranging from approximately 15000 to 36000. Analysis using integrational plasmids suggests that the region is likely to be transcribed as a single mRNA. A novel form of complementation analysis, based on derivatives of bacteriophage ϕ 105 carrying the cloned locus, has been used to define four distinct complementation groups among the eight previously characterized mutations. The locus is the largest polycistronic sporulation operon yet characterized.


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