Nitrogen regulation of nasA and the nasB operon, which encode genes required for nitrate assimilation in Bacillus subtilis

Michiko Nakano, F. Yang, P. Hardin, Peter Zuber

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42 Scopus citations


The divergently transcribed nasA gene and nasB operon are required for nitrate and nitrite assimilation in Bacillus subtilis. The β-galactosidase activity of transcriptional lacZ fusions from the nasA and nasB promoters was high when cells were grown in minimal glucose medium containing poor nitrogen sources such as nitrate, proline, or glutamate. The expression was very low when ammonium or glutamine was used as the sole nitrogen source. The repression of the genes during growth on good sources of nitrogen required wild-type glutamine synthetase (GlnA), but not GlnR, the repressor of the glnRA operon. Primer extension analysis showed that the -10 region of each promoter resembles those of σ(A)-recognized promoters. Between the divergently oriented nasA and nasB promoters is a region of dyad symmetry. Mutational analysis led to the conclusion that this sequence is required in cis for the activation of both nasA and nasB. The derepression of these genes in a glnA mutant also required this sequence. These results suggest that an unidentified transcriptional activator and glutamine synthetase function in the regulation of nasA and the nasB operon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-579
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Immunology

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