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Microbiology. 2003 Sep;149(Pt 9):2345-55.

Distinct molecular mechanisms involved in carbon catabolite repression of the arabinose regulon in Bacillus subtilis.

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Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Avenida de República, Apartado 127, 2781-901 Oeiras, Portugal.


The Bacillus subtilis proteins involved in the utilization of L-arabinose are encoded by the araABDLMNPQ-abfA metabolic operon and by the araE/araR divergent unit. Transcription from the ara operon, araE transport gene and araR regulatory gene is induced by L-arabinose and negatively controlled by AraR. Additionally, expression of both the ara operon and the araE gene is regulated at the transcriptional level by glucose repression. Here, by transcriptional fusion analysis in different mutant backgrounds, it is shown that CcpA most probably complexed with HPr-Ser46-P plays the major role in carbon catabolite repression of the ara regulon by glucose and glycerol. Site-directed mutagenesis and deletion analysis indicate that two catabolite responsive elements (cres) present in the ara operon (cre araA and cre araB) and one cre in the araE gene (cre araE) are implicated in this mechanism. Furthermore, cre araA located between the promoter region of the ara operon and the araA gene, and cre araB placed 2 kb downstream within the araB gene are independently functional and both contribute to glucose repression. In Northern blot analysis, in the presence of glucose, a CcpA-dependent transcript consistent with a message stopping at cre araB was detected, suggesting that transcription 'roadblocking' of RNA polymerase elongation is the most likely mechanism operating in this system. Glucose exerts an additional repression of the ara regulon, which requires a functional araR.

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