Spores of spore germination mutants of 168 are defective in response to the germinative mixture of -asparagine, glucose, fructose and potassium ions (AGFK), but are normal in the -alanine (ALA) triggered germination response. A λ clone of 15 kbp carrying the region has been identified. Sequencing of the region of the clone revealed a cluster of three ORFs encoding putative proteins of 53.3, 41.3 and 42.4 kDa (GerBA, GerBB and GerBC, respectively). The first two of these proteins have substantial hydrophobic regions and the third is a possible lipoprotein. At least two, and probably all three products are required for normal germination in AGFK. The three proteins form a set of homologues of the products of the operon, mutations in which cause a defect in the ALA germination pathway, but cause no defect in AGFK. The GerB proteins show 42%, 31% and 35% identity at the amino-acid level to the corresponding GerA proteins, and the homologues occur in the same order in both operons.


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