Inventory, assembly and analysis of Bacillus subtilis ABC transport systems

J Mol Biol. 1999 Apr 2;287(3):467-84. doi: 10.1006/jmbi.1999.2624.


We have undertaken the inventory and assembly of the ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter systems in the complete genome of Bacillus subtilis. We combined the identification of the three protein partners that compose an ABC transporter (nucleotide-binding domain, NBD; membrane spanning domain, MSD; and solute-binding protein, SBP) with constraints on the genetic organization. This strategy allowed the identification of 86 NBDs in 78 proteins, 103 MSD proteins and 37 SBPs. The analysis of transcriptional units allows the reconstruction of 59 ABC transporters, which include at least one NBD and one MSD. A particular class of five dimeric ATPases was not associated to MSD partners and is assumed to be involved either in macrolide resistance or regulation of translation elongation. In addition, we have detected five genes encoding ATPases without any gene coding for MSD protein in their neighborhood and 11 operons that encode only the membrane and solute-binding proteins. On the bases of similarities, three ATP-binding proteins are proposed to energize ten incomplete systems, suggesting that one ATPase may be recruited by more than one transporter. Finally, we estimate that the B. subtilis genome encodes for at least 78 ABC transporters that have been split in 38 importers and 40 extruders. The ABC systems have been further classified into 11 sub-families according to the tree obtained from the NBDs and the clustering of the MSDs and the SBPs. Comparisons with Escherichia coli show that the extruders are over-represented in B. subtilis, corresponding to an expansion of the sub-families of antibiotic and drug resistance systems.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / classification*
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism
  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics
  • Bacillus subtilis / metabolism*
  • Binding Sites / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Membranes / metabolism
  • Nucleotides / metabolism


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Nucleotides