The oligopeptide transport system of Bacillus subtilis plays a role in the initiation of sporulation

Mol Microbiol. 1991 Jan;5(1):173-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1991.tb01838.x.


Bacillus subtilis spo0K mutants are blocked at the first step in sporulation. The spo0K strain was found to contain two mutations: one was linked to the trpS locus, and the other was elsewhere on the chromosome. The mutation linked to trpS was responsible for the sporulation defect (spo-). The unlinked mutation enhanced this sporulation deficiency but had no phenotype on its own. The spo- mutation was located in an operon of five genes highly homologous to the oligopeptide transport (Opp) system of Gram-negative species. Studies with toxic peptide analogues showed that this operon does indeed encode a peptide-transport system. However, unlike the Opp system of Salmonella typhimurium, one of the two ATP-binding proteins, OppF, was not required for peptide transport or for sporulation. The OppA peptide-binding protein, which is periplasmically located in Gram-negative species, has a signal sequence characteristic of lipoproteins with an amino-terminal lipo-amino acid anchor. Cellular location studies revealed that OppA was associated with the cell during exponential growth, but was released into the medium in stationary phase. A major role of the Opp system in Gram-negative bacteria is the recycling of cell-wall peptides as they are released from the growing peptidoglycan. We postulate that the accumulation of such peptides may play a signalling role in the initiation of sporulation, and that the sporulation defect in opp mutants results from an inability to transport these peptides.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics
  • Bacillus subtilis / physiology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Transport
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carrier Proteins*
  • Chromosome Walking
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Lipoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Oligopeptides / metabolism*
  • Operon*
  • Phenotype
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Spores, Bacterial


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Lipoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Oligopeptides
  • oligopeptide-binding protein, bacteria
  • oligopeptide permease, Bacteria

Associated data

  • GENBANK/S63962
  • GENBANK/S82379
  • GENBANK/S82386
  • GENBANK/X55772
  • GENBANK/X56347
  • GENBANK/X57927
  • GENBANK/X58173
  • GENBANK/X58174
  • GENBANK/X58175
  • GENBANK/X58176