Using a previously developed Bacillus cereus in vivo expression technology (IVET) promoter trap system, we showed that spsA, a gene of unknown function, was specifically expressed in the larval gut during infection. Search for gut-related compounds inducing spsA transcription identified glucose-6-phosphate (G6P) as an activation signal. Analysis of the spsA-related 5-gene cluster indicated that SpsA is part of a new sugar phosphate sensor system composed of a 2-component system (TCS) encoded by spsR and spsK, and 2 additional downstream genes, spsB and spsC. In B. cereus, American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) 14579, spsRK, and spsABC are separate transcriptional units, of which only spsABC was activated by extracellular G6P. lacZ transcriptional fusions tested in mutant and complemented strains showed that SpsRK, SpsA, and SpsB are essential for the transcription of spsABC. Deletion mutant analysis showed that SpsC is essential for the G6P uptake. gfp-transcriptional fusions showed that these genes are required for host-activated expression, as well. This sugar phosphate sensor and transport system is found in pathogenic Bacillus group and Clostridia bacteria and may be important for host adaptation. Our findings provide new insights into the function of 2-component sensor systems in host-pathogen interactions, specifically in the gut.—Song, F., Peng, Q., Brillard, J., Buisson, C., de Been, M., Abee, T., Broussolle, V., Huang, D., Zhang, J., Lereclus, D., Nielsen-LeRoux, C. A multicomponent sugar phosphate sensor system specifically induced in Bacillus cereus during infection of the insect gut.
- 2-component signal-transduction
- gram-positive bacteria
- plcr virulence regulon
- histidine kinases
- genome sequence