Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Bacteriol. 1996 Sep;178(17):5071-9.

Three transport systems for the osmoprotectant glycine betaine operate in Bacillus subtilis: characterization of OpuD.

Author information

Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg, Germany.


The accumulation of the osmoprotectant glycine betaine from exogenous sources provides a high degree of osmotic tolerance to Bacillus subtilis. We have identified, through functional complementation of an Escherichia coli mutant defective in glycine betaine uptake, a new glycine betaine transport system from B. subtilis. The DNA sequence of a 2,310-bp segment of the cloned region revealed a single gene (opuD) whose product (OpuD) was essential for glycine betaine uptake and osmoprotection in E. coli. The opuD gene encodes a hydrophobic 56.13-kDa protein (512 amino acid residues). OpuD shows a significant degree of sequence identity to the choline transporter BetT and the carnitine transporter CaiT from E. coli and a BetT-like protein from Haemophilus influenzae. These membrane proteins form a family of transporters involved in the uptake of trimethylammonium compounds. The OpuD-mediated glycine betaine transport activity in B. subtilis is controlled by the environmental osmolarity. High osmolarity stimulates de novo synthesis of OpuD and activates preexisting OpuD proteins to achieve maximal glycine betaine uptake activity. An opuD mutant was constructed by marker replacement, and the OpuD-mediated glycine betaine uptake activity was compared with that of the previously identified multicomponent OpuA and OpuC (ProU) glycine betaine uptake systems. In addition, a set of mutants was constructed, each of which synthesized only one of the three glycine betaine uptake systems. These mutants were used to determine the kinetic parameters for glycine betaine transport through OpuA, OpuC, and OpuD. Each of these uptake systems shows high substrate affinity, with Km values in the low micromolar range, which should allow B. subtilis to efficiently acquire the osmoprotectant from the environment. The systems differed in their contribution to the overall glycine betaine accumulation and osmoprotection. A triple opuA, opuC, and opuD mutant strain was isolated, and it showed no glycine betaine uptake activity, demonstrating that three transport systems for this osmoprotectant operate in B. subtilis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center