Analysis of the upstream activating sequence and site of carbon and nitrogen source repression in the promoter of an early-induced sporulation gene of Bacillus subtilis

D. Frisby, P. Zuber

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23 Scopus citations


The transcription from the spoVG promoter of Bacillus subtilis is induced at the start of the stationary phase of growth and is dependent on the expression of the spo0A, spo0B, and spo0H genes. It is repressed in cells grown in the presence of excess glucose and glutamine and is under the negative control of the abrB gene. The spo0A and spo0B gene products function to suppress the negative control exerted by abrB. Transcription initiation requires the form of RNA polymerase holoenzyme that contains the spo0H gene product, σ(H). Optimal transcription also requires an upstream A-T-rich region termed the upstream activating sequence (UAS). The mechanism of UAS function was examined through mutational analysis of the spoVG promoter region. Deletion of the UAS or positioning the UAS one half turn or one full turn of the DNA helix upstream of its location in wild-type spoVG resulted in a severe reduction in promoter activity. Deletion of most of the UAS abolished the abrB-dependent repression of spoVG transcription. Higher activity was observed when the UAS was inserted 10 bp (one turn of the helix) upstream than when the sequence was repositioned either 5 or 13 bp upstream. Sequences upstream of the UAS were found not to be involved with the position-dependent function of the UAS. Positioning of the UAS 42 or 116 bp upstream eliminated the stimulatory effect of the sequence on spoVG transcription. These data indicate that the UAS functions effectively when it is in close proximity to the -35 region. In vitro transcription analysis indicated that the deletion and insertion mutations affecting the UAS impair RNA polymerase-spoVG promoter interaction. Deletion of the UAS showed that the negative effect of exogenous glucose and glutamine is not dependent on the UAS but is exerted at a site within or near the -35 and -10 regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7557-7564
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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