Bacterial growth requires equilibrated concentration of C, N and P sources. This work shows a phosphate control over the nitrogen metabolism in the model actinomycete Streptomyces coelicolor. Phosphate control of metabolism in Streptomyces is exerted by the two component system PhoR-PhoP. The response regulator PhoP binds to well-known PHO boxes composed of direct repeat units (DRus). PhoP binds to the glnR promoter, encoding the major nitrogen regulator as shown by EMSA studies, but not to the glnRII promoter under identical experimental conditions. PhoP also binds to the promoters of glnA and glnII encoding two glutamine synthetases, and to the promoter of the amtB-glnK-glnD operon, encoding an ammonium transporter and two putative nitrogen sensing/regulatory proteins. Footprinting analyses revealed that the PhoP-binding sequence overlaps the GlnR boxes in both glnA and glnII. 'Information theory' quantitative analyses of base conservation allowed us to establish the structure of the PhoP-binding regions in the glnR, glnA, glnII and amtB genes. Expression studies using luxAB as reporter showed that PhoP represses the above mentioned nitrogen metabolism genes. A mutant deleted in PhoP showed increased expression of the nitrogen metabolism genes. The possible conservation of phosphate control over nitrogen metabolism in other microorganisms is discussed.