Functional characterization of CitM, the Mg2+-citrate transporter

J Membr Biol. 2002 Jan 1;185(1):9-16. doi: 10.1007/s00232-001-0106-1. Epub 2002 Feb 5.


The CitM transporter from Bacillus subtilis transports citrate as a complex with Mg2+. In this study, CitM was functionally expressed and characterized in E. coli DH5a cells. In the presence of saturating Mg2+ concentrations, the Km for citrate in CitM was 274 mM, similar to previous studies using whole cells of B. subtilis. CitM has a high substrate specificity for citrate. Other di- and tricarboxylic acids including succinate, isocitrate, cis-aconitate and tricarballylic acid did not significantly inhibit the uptake of citrate in the presence of Mg2+. However, CitM accepts complexes of citrate with metal ions other than Mg2+. The highest rate of citrate transport was seen in the presence of Mg2+, followed in order of preference by Mn2+, Ba2+, Ni2+, Co2+ and Ca2+. Citrate transport by CitM appears to be proton coupled. The transport was inhibited in transport buffers more alkaline than pH 7.5 and not affected by pH at acidic values. Transport was also inhibited by ionophores that affect the transmembrane proton gradient, including FCCP, TCC and nigericin. Valinomycin did not affect the uptake by CitM, suggesting that transport is electroneutral. In conclusion, the cloned CitM transporter from B. subtilis expressed in E. coli has properties similar to the transporter in intact B. subtilis cells. The results support a transport model with a coupling stoichiometry of one proton coupled to the uptake of one complex of (Mg2+-citrate)1-.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics
  • Bacillus subtilis / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Citric Acid / pharmacokinetics*
  • Escherichia coli / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Ionophores / pharmacology
  • Magnesium / pharmacology*
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Organometallic Compounds / pharmacokinetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Succinic Acid / pharmacology
  • Symporters
  • Transformation, Bacterial
  • Tricarboxylic Acids / pharmacology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • CitM protein, Bacillus subtilis
  • Ionophores
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Symporters
  • Tricarboxylic Acids
  • Citric Acid
  • Succinic Acid
  • Magnesium
  • magnesium citrate