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A new Bacillus subtilis gene, med, encodes a positive regulator of comK.

  • M Ogura
  • Y Ohshiro
  • S Hirao
  • T Tanaka
Publication Date
Oct 01, 1997
  • Biology
  • Design


Bacillus subtilis degR, a positive regulator of the production of degradative enzymes, is negatively regulated by the competence transcription factor ComK which is overproduced in mecA null mutants. We used transposon Tn10 to search for a mutation that reduced the repression level of degR caused by a mecA mutation. A new gene exerting positive regulation on comK was obtained and designated med (suppressor of mecA effect on degR). Sequence determination, Northern analysis, and primer extension analyses revealed that the med gene contained an open reading frame (ORF) composed of 317 codons and was transcribed into an approximately 1,250-nucleotide mRNA together with its short downstream gene. The expression of comK is positively regulated by factors such as ComK itself, ComS (SrfA)-MecA, DegU, SinR, and AbrB. Quantitative analyses using comK'-'lacZ, srfA-lacZ, degU'-'lacZ, and sinR'-'lacZ fusions showed that disruption of med caused a significant decrease in comK expression in both mecA+ and mecA strains, while expression of srfA, sinR, and degU was not affected by the mutation. An epistatic analysis revealed that overproduction of ComK resulted in alteration of med expression, suggesting a regulatory loop between comK and med. Several possible mechanisms for positive regulation of comK by Med are discussed.

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