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J Bacteriol. 2005 Jan;187(2):791-4.

The purine efflux pump PbuE in Bacillus subtilis modulates expression of the PurR and G-box (XptR) regulons by adjusting the purine base pool size.

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Institute of Molecular Biology, Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.


In Bacillus subtilis, the expression of genes encoding enzymes and other proteins involved in purine de novo synthesis and salvage is affected by purine bases and phosphoribosylpyrophosphate (PRPP). The transcription of the genes belonging to the PurR regulon is negatively regulated by the PurR protein and PRPP. The expression of the genes belonging to the G-box (XptR) regulon, including the pbuE gene, is negatively regulated by a riboswitch-controlled transcription termination mechanism. The G-box regulon effector molecules are hypoxanthine and guanine. pbuE encodes a purine base efflux pump and is now recognized as belonging to a third purine regulon. The expression of the pbuE gene is positively regulated by a riboswitch that recognizes adenine. Here we show that the expression of pbuE'-lacZ transcriptional fusions are induced by adenine to the highest extent in mutants which do not express a functional PbuE pump. In a mutant defective in the metabolism of adenine, the ade apt mutant, we found a high intracellular level of adenine and constitutive high levels of PbuE. A growth test using a purine auxotroph provided further evidence for the role of PbuE in lowering the intracellular concentration of purine bases, including adenine. Purine analogs also affect the expression of pbuE, which might be of importance for the protection against toxic analogs. In a mutant that overexpresses PbuE, the expression of genes belonging to the PurR regulon was increased. Our findings provide further evidence for important functions of the PbuE protein, such as acting as a pump that lowers the purine base pool and affects the expression of the G-box and PurR regulons, including pbuE itself, and as a pump involved in protection against toxic purine base analogs.

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