Identification and characterization of the non-PTS fru locus of Bacillus megaterium ATCC 14581
A genetic locus that is adjacent to the gene encoding the small acid-soluble protein SASP C-4 of Bacillus megaterium has been identified. This locus, designated fru, contains a #-fructosidase gene (fruA), a gene encoding a hydrophobic protein that is closely related to non-PTS sugar permeases of the proton symport type (fruP), and a gene coding for a transcriptional regulator of the LacI/GalR family (fruR). The FruA protein can hydrolyze sucrose and raffinose, but not maltose, isomaltose, trehalose, melibiose or lactose. The transcription initiation site of fruP has been mapped and the fruP promoter identified. Gel mobility shift assays showed that the FruR protein can bind specifically to a DNA fragment containing the fruP promoter region. DNase I footprinting analysis has defined the FruR binding site. Disruption of fruR led to high-level constitutive expression of fruPA, but had no effect on expression from the fruR promoter itself, indicating that FruR acts as a repressor of fruPA expression, but does not autoregulate its own synthesis. Interestingly, expression of fruPA in B. megaterium was not induced by sucrose, raffinose, fructose or inulin, whereas the constitutive expression of fruPA in a fruR mutant was repressed by both glucose and sucrose. Possible physiological implications of these findings are discussed.