Journal of bacteriology

DegS-DegU and ComP-ComA modulator-effector pairs control expression of the Bacillus subtilis pleiotropic regulatory gene degQ.

PMID 1901055


Production of a class of both secreted and intracellular degradative enzymes in Bacillus subtilis is regulated at the transcriptional level by a signal transduction pathway which includes the DegS-DegU two-component system and at least two additional regulatory genes, degQ and degR, encoding polypeptides of 46 and 60 amino acids, respectively. Expression of degQ was shown to be controlled by DegS-DegU. This expression is decreased in the presence of glucose and increased under any of the following conditions: growth with poor carbon sources, amino acid deprivation, phosphate starvation, and growth in the presence of decoyinine, a specific inhibitor of GMP synthetase. In addition, expression of degQ is shown to be positively regulated by the ComP-ComA two-component system. Separate targets for regulation of degQ gene expression by DegS-DegU and ComP-ComA were located by deletion analysis between positions -393 and -186 and between positions -78 and -40, respectively. Regulation of degQ expression by amino acid deprivation was shown to be dependent upon ComA. Regulation by phosphate starvation, catabolite repression, and decoyinine was independent of the two-component systems and shown to involve sequences downstream from position -78. The ComP-ComA and DegS-DegU two-component systems seem to be closely related, sharing several target genes in common, such as late competence genes, as well as the degQ regulatory gene. Sequence analysis of the degQ region revealed the beginning of an open reading frame directly downstream from degQ. Disruption of this gene, designated comQ, suggests that it also controls expression of degQ and is required for development of genetic competence.