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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013 Jun;79(11):3371-9. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00380-13. Epub 2013 Mar 22.

Distribution and functions of phosphotransferase system genes in the genome of the lactic acid bacterium Oenococcus oeni.

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  • 1Université de Bordeaux, ISVV, EA-4577, Unité de Recherche Oenologie, INRA USC1366, Villenave d'Ornon, France.


Oenococcus oeni, the lactic acid bacterium primarily responsible for malolactic fermentation in wine, is able to grow on a large variety of carbohydrates, but the pathways by which substrates are transported and phosphorylated in this species have been poorly studied. We show that the genes encoding the general phosphotransferase proteins, enzyme I (EI) and histidine protein (HPr), as well as 21 permease genes (3 isolated ones and 18 clustered into 6 distinct loci), are highly conserved among the strains studied and may form part of the O. oeni core genome. Additional permease genes differentiate the strains and may have been acquired or lost by horizontal gene transfer events. The core pts genes are expressed, and permease gene expression is modulated by the nature of the bacterial growth substrate. Decryptified O. oeni cells are able to phosphorylate glucose, cellobiose, trehalose, and mannose at the expense of phosphoenolpyruvate. These substrates are present at low concentrations in wine at the end of alcoholic fermentation. The phosphotransferase system (PTS) may contribute to the perfect adaptation of O. oeni to its singular ecological niche.

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