We found that mannitol-1-phosphate dehydrogenase (MtlD), a component of the mannitol-specific phosphotransferase system, is required for glucitol assimilation in addition to GutR, GutB, and GutP in Bacillus subtilis. Northern hybridization of total RNA and microarray studies of RNA from cells cultured on glucose, mannitol, and glucitol indicated that mannitol as the sole carbon source induced hyperexpression of the mtl operon, whereas glucitol induced both mtl and gut operons. The B. subtilis mtl operon consists of mtlA (encoding enzyme IICBA(mt1)) and mtlD, and its transcriptional regulator gene, mtlR, is located 14.4 kb downstream from the mtl operon on the chromosome. The mtlA, mtlD, and mtlR mutants disrupted by the introduction of the pMUTin derivatives MTLAd, MTLDd, and MTLRd, respectively, could not grow normally on either mannitol or glucitol. However, the growth of MTLAd on glucitol was enhanced by IPTG (isopropyl-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside). This mutant has an IPTG-inducible promoter (Pspac promoter) located in mtlA, and this site corresponds to the upstream region of mtlD. Insertion mutants of mtlD harboring the chloramphenicol resistance gene also could not grow on either mannitol or glucitol. In contrast, an insertion mutant of mtlA could grow on glucitol but not on mannitol in the presence or absence of IPTG. MtlR bound to the promoter region of the mtl operon but not to a DNA fragment containing the gut promoter region.