Molecular cloning, structure, promoters and regulatory elements for transcription of the Bacillus licheniformis encoded regulon for xylose utilization

Research paper by A. Scheler, T. Rygus, R. Allmansberger, W. Hillen

Indexed on: 01 Jun '91Published on: 01 Jun '91Published in: Archives of Microbiology


In this article we describe the cloning of the xyl regulon encoding xylose utilization from Bacillus licheniformis by complementation of a xyl mutant of B. subtilis. The xylose isomerase encoding gene, xylA, was sequenced and identified by its extensive homology to other xylose isomerases. The expression of xylA is regulated on the level of transcription by a repressor protein encoded by xylR. Its gene has the opposite orientation of xylA and the start codons are 181 bp apart. A deletion of xylR renders xylA expression constitutive. The xylR sequence was determined and is discussed with respect to its homology to other xylR structures. Primer extension analyses of the xylA and xylR transcripts under repressing and incuding conditions define their promoters and confirm the regulation of xylA transcription. Furthermore, some induction of the xylR transcript by xylose is also observed. The regulatory sequence of both genes consists of a bipolar promoter system and contains three palindromic sequence elements. Their potential functions with respect to xylA and xylR regulation are discussed. The primary structures of the genes, promoters and regulatory sequences are compared to the xyl regulons encoded by B. subtilis, B. megaterium, Staphylococcus xylosus and E. coli. Homology is greatest between the B. subtilis and B. megaterium encoded xyl genes while the B. licheniformis borne genes are clearly more distant. The next greater differences are found to the S. xylosus and the greatest to the E. coli encoded genes. These results are discussed with respect to the taxonomic relations of these bacteria.