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Mol Microbiol. 2001 Mar;39(5):1366-81.

Catabolite repression mediated by the CcpA protein in Bacillus subtilis: novel modes of regulation revealed by whole-genome analyses.

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Department of Biology, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0116, USA.


Previous studies have shown that the CcpA protein of Bacillus subtilis is a major transcription factor mediating catabolite repression. We report here whole-transcriptome analyses that characterize CcpA-dependent, glucose-dependent gene expression and correlate the results with full-genome computer analyses of DNA binding (CRE) sites for CcpA. The data obtained using traditional approaches show good agreement with those obtained using the transcriptome approach. About 10% of all genes in B. subtilis are regulated > 3x by glucose, with repressed genes outnumbering activated genes three to one. Eighty per cent of these genes depend on CcpA for regulation. Classical approaches have provided only evidence for CcpA-mediated, glucose-dependent activation or repression. We show here that CcpA also mediates glucose-independent activation or repression, and that glucose may alter either the direction or the intensity of either effect. Computer analyses revealed the presence of CRE sites in most operons subject to CcpA-mediated glucose repression, but not in those subject to glucose activation, suggesting that either secondary transcription factors regulate the latter genes or activation by CcpA involves a dissimilar binding site. Operons encoding the constituents of ABC-type transporters that are subject to CcpA-mediated glucose regulation show two distinct patterns: either all genes in the operon are regulated in parallel (the minor class) or the gene encoding the extracytoplasmic solute-binding receptor is preferentially regulated (the major class). Genes subject to CcpA-independent catabolite repression are primarily concerned with sporulation. Several transcription factors were identified that are themselves regulated by CcpA at the transcriptional level. Representative data with functionally characterized genes are presented to illustrate the novel findings. The comprehensive transcriptome data are available on our website: and also on products/journals/suppmat/MMI/MMI2328/MMI2328sm.htm.

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