SUMMARY: The genes responsible for cell wall biosynthesis and cell division (dcw genes) were identified and sequenced in Streptococcus pneumoniae. The genetic organization of the dcw cluster in Streptococcus pneumoniae differed significantly from the clusters of other bacteria reported to date. In particular, the genes corresponding to the 2 min region of the Escherichia colichromosome were found distributed in three genetically separate regions of the Streptococcus pneumoniae chromosome. The first region contained the expected ftsA and ftsZ cell division genes at one end and pbp2b, ddl and murF at the o her end. The murD, murG and diw/B genes, always found located upstream of ftsA, were found in a second region separated from the first. A third region contained the yllC, yllD, pbp2x and mraY genes. The chromosomal region downstream of ftsZ was also sequenced and characterized. In Streptococcus pneumoniae this region contains four ORFs, all of unknown function, and an ORF encoding the Bacillus subtilis DivlVA homologue. The gene order and the organization of this region was found to be conserved in Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes and Bacillus subtilis, raising the possibility that previously unidentified loci may also be involved in division.


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