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Unity in organisation and regulation of catabolic operons inLactobacillus plantarum,Lactococcus lactisandListeria monocytogenes

Systematic and Applied Microbiology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.syapm.2004.11.004
  • Catabolite Responsive Element (Cre)
  • Global Regulation
  • Lactococcus Lactis
  • Lactobacillus Plantarum
  • Listeria Monocytogenes
  • Operon Organisation
  • Comparative Genomics
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geography


Abstract Global regulatory circuits together with more specific local regulators play a notable role when cells are adapting to environmental changes. Lactococcus lactis is a lactic acid bacterium abundant in nature fermenting most mono- and disaccharides. Comparative genomics analysis of the operons encoding the proteins and enzymes crucial for catabolism of lactose, maltose and threhalose revealed an obvious unity in operon organisation . The local regulator of each operon was located in a divergent transcriptional direction to the rest of the operon including the transport protein-encoding genes. Furthermore, in all three operons a catabolite responsive element (CRE) site was detected inbetween the gene encoding the local regulator and one of the genes encoding a sugar transport protein. It is evident that regardless of type of transport system and catabolic enzymes acting upon lactose, maltose and trehalose, respectively, Lc. lactis shows unity in both operon organisation and regulation of these catabolic operons. This knowledge was further extended to other catabolic operons in Lc. lactis and the two related bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum and Listeria monocytogenes. Thirty-nine catabolic operons responsible for degradation of sugars and sugar alcohols in Lc. lactis, Lb. plantarum and L. monocytogenes were investigated and the majority of those possessed the same organisation as the lactose, maltose and trehalose operons of Lc. lactis. Though, the frequency of CRE sites and their location varied among the bacteria. Both Lc. lactis and Lb. plantarum showed CRE sites in direct proximity to genes coding for proteins responsible for sugar uptake. However, in L. monocytogenes CRE sites were not frequently found and not in the vicinity of genes encoding transport proteins, suggesting a more local mode of regulation of the catabolic operons found and/or the use of inducer control in this bacterium.

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