The CitST two-component system regulates the expression of the Mg-citrate transporter in Bacillus subtilis

Mol Microbiol. 2000 Aug;37(4):898-912. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2000.02055.x.


citS and citT genes encoding a new two-component system were identified in the 71 degrees region between the pel and citM loci on the Bacillus subtilis chromosome. citS- and citT-deficient strains were unable to grow on minimal plates including citrate as a sole carbon source. In addition, a strain deficient in citM, which encodes the secondary transporter of the Mg-citrate complex, exhibited the same phenotype on this medium. Northern blot analysis revealed that citM was polycistronically transcribed with the downstream yflN gene, and that CitS and CitT were necessary for transcription of the citM-yflN operon. Upon addition of 2 mM citrate to DSM, this operon was strongly induced after the middle of the exponential growth phase in the wild type, but not in the citST double null mutant. Moreover, the transcription of this operon was completely repressed in the presence of 1% glucose. We found a sequence exhibiting homology to a catabolite-responsive element (cre) in the citM promoter region. Glucose repression was lost in ccpA and citM-cre mutants. From the result of a citM-promoter deletion experiment, putative CitT target sequences were found to be located around two regions, from -62 to -74 and from -149 to -189, relative to the citM start point. Furthermore, DNase I footprinting assays revealed that these two CitT target regions extended maximally from -36 to -84 and from -168 to -194. From these findings, we concluded that the expression of citM is positively regulated by the CitST system and negatively regulated by CcpA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics*
  • Bacillus subtilis / growth & development
  • Bacillus subtilis / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Base Sequence
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • DNA Footprinting
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Operon
  • Organic Anion Transporters*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Symporters
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • CitM protein, Bacillus subtilis
  • CitS protein, bacteria
  • CitT protein, E coli
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Organic Anion Transporters
  • Symporters