The Bacillus subtilis cysP gene encodes a novel sulphate permease related to the inorganic phosphate transporter (Pit) family
Sulphate permeases in the plasma membrane are responsible for uptake of environmental sulphate used in the sulphate assimilation pathway in bacteria and plants. Here it is reported that the ORF designated cysP, located on the Bacillus subtilis chromosome between cysH and five putative genes involved in sulphate assimilation, encodes a sulphate permease. cysP is able to complement Escherichia coli cysteine auxotrophs with mutations affecting either the membrane or periplasmic components of the sulphate-thiosulphate permease. Transport studies with cell suspensions of a cysA97 E. coli strain transformed with a plasmid expressing the B. subtilis cysP gene indicated that CysP catalyses sulphate uptake. Analysis of the primary sequence showed that CysP (354 amino acids, estimated molecular mass 24 kDa) is a highly hydrophobic protein which has 11 putative transmembrane helices. Sequence comparisons revealed that CysP, together with the phosphate permease of Neurospora crassa, Pho-4, and E. coli PitA, belongs to the family of related transporters, the inorganic phosphate transporter (Pit) family. Among the putative phosphate permeases, CysP shows a similar size and the same domain organization as the archaeal transporters. This is the first report of a sulphate permease in a Gram-positive organism.