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Mol Microbiol. 2002 Jul;45(2):543-53.

Control of the glycolytic gapA operon by the catabolite control protein A in Bacillus subtilis: a novel mechanism of CcpA-mediated regulation.

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Lehrstuhl für Mikrobiologie, Institut für Mikrobiologie, Biochemie und Genetik der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Staudtstr. 5, D-91058 Erlangen, Germany.


Glycolysis is one of the main pathways of carbon catabolism in Bacillus subtilis. Expression of the gapA gene encoding glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, the key enzyme of glycolysis from an energetic point of view, is induced by glucose and other sugars. Two regulators are involved in induction of the gapA operon, the product of the first gene of the operon, the CggR repressor, and catabolite control protein A (CcpA). CcpA is required for induction of the gapA operon by glucose. Genetic evidence has demonstrated that CcpA does not control the expression of the gapA operon by binding directly to a target in the promoter region. Here, we demonstrate by physiological analysis of the inducer spectrum that CcpA is required only for induction by sugars transported by the phosphotransferase system (PTS). A functional CcpA is needed for efficient transport of these sugars. This interference of CcpA with PTS sugar transport results from an altered phosphorylation pattern of HPr, a phosphotransferase of the PTS. In a ccpA mutant strain, HPr is nearly completely phosphorylated on a regulatory site, Ser-46, and is trapped in this state, resulting in its inactivity in PTS phosphotransfer. A mutation in HPr affecting the regulatory phosphorylation site suppresses both the defect in PTS sugar transport and the induction of the gapA operon. We conclude that a low-molecular effector derived from glucose that acts as an inducer for the repressor CggR is limiting in the ccpA mutant.

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