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Journal Articles Journal of Bacteriology Year : 2004

Transcriptional Regulation of the phoPR Operon in Bacillus subtilis


When Bacillus subtilis is subjected to phosphate starvation, the Pho regulon is activated by the PhoP-PhoR two-component signal transduction system to elicit specific responses to this nutrient limitation. The response regulator, PhoP, and its cognate histidine sensor kinase, PhoR, are encoded by the phoPR operon that is transcribed as a 2.7-kb bicistronic mRNA. The phoPR operon is transcribed from two sigma(A)-dependent promoters, P(1) and P(2). Under conditions where the Pho regulon was not induced (i.e., phosphate-replete conditions or phoR-null mutant), a low level of phoPR transcription was detected only from promoter P(1). During phosphate starvation-induced transition from exponential to stationary phase, the expression of the phoPR operon was up-regulated in a phosphorylated PhoP (PhoP approximately P)-dependent manner; in addition to P(1), the P(2) promoter becomes active. In vitro gel shift assays and DNase I footprinting experiments showed that both PhoP and PhoP approximately P could bind to the control region of the phoPR operon. The data indicate that while low-level constitutive expression of phoPR is required under phosphate-replete conditions for signal perception and transduction, autoinduction is required to provide sufficient PhoP approximately P to induce other members of the Pho regulon. The extent to which promoters P(1) and P(2) are activated appears to be influenced by the presence of other sigma factors, possibly the result of sigma factor competition. For example, phoPR is hyperinduced in a sigB mutant and, later in stationary phase, in sigH, sigF, and sigE mutants. The data point to a complex regulatory network in which other stress responses and post-exponential-phase processes influence the expression of phoPR and, thereby, the magnitude of the Pho regulon response.

Dates and versions

pasteur-02870204 , version 1 (16-06-2020)



Zoltan Pragai, Nicholas Allenby, Nicola O'Connor, Sarah Dubrac, Georges Rapoport, et al.. Transcriptional Regulation of the phoPR Operon in Bacillus subtilis. Journal of Bacteriology, 2004, 186 (4), pp.1182-1190. ⟨10.1128/JB.186.4.1182-1190.2004⟩. ⟨pasteur-02870204⟩


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