CodY is a nutritional repressor of flagellar gene expression in Bacillus subtilis

J Bacteriol. 2003 May;185(10):3118-26. doi: 10.1128/JB.185.10.3118-3126.2003.


Expression of the sigma(D)-dependent flagellin gene, hag, is repressed by the CodY protein in nutrient-rich environments. Analysis of a codY mutant bearing a hag-lacZ reporter suggests that the availability of amino acids in the environment is the specific signal that triggers this repression. Further, hag-lacZ expression appears to be sensitive to intracellular GTP levels, as demonstrated by increased expression upon addition of decoyinine. This result is consistent with the postulate that the availability of amino acids in the environment effects intracellular GTP levels through the stringent response. However, the levels of hag-lacZ measured upon the addition of subsets of amino acids suggest an additional mechanism(s). CodY is a DNA binding protein that could repress flagellin expression directly by binding to the hag promoter region, or indirectly by binding to the fla/che promoter region that governs expression of the sigma(D) transcriptional activator required for hag gene expression. Using an electrophoretic mobility shift assay, we have demonstrated that purified CodY protein binds specifically to both the hag and fla/che promoter fragments. Additionally, CodY acts as a nutritional repressor of transcription from the fla/che promoter region that contains two functional promoters. CodY binds to both the sigma(D)- and sigma(A)-dependent promoters in this region, as demonstrated by DNase I footprint analyses. Footprint analyses of the hag gene demonstrated that CodY binds downstream of its sigma(D)-dependent promoter. Taken together, these results identify new members of the CodY regulon that encode motility functions in Bacillus subtilis and are controlled by the sigma(D) alternate sigma factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / metabolism
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / pharmacology
  • Bacillus subtilis / drug effects
  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics*
  • Bacillus subtilis / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Culture Media
  • DNA Footprinting
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Flagella / genetics*
  • Flagellin / genetics*
  • Flagellin / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Guanosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Synthases / genetics
  • Peptide Synthases / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*
  • Sigma Factor / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • beta-Galactosidase / genetics
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Culture Media
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Sigma Factor
  • Transcription Factors
  • Flagellin
  • comK protein, Bacillus subtilis
  • Guanosine Triphosphate
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Peptide Synthases
  • surfactin synthetase