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Biochemistry. 2005 Dec 6;44(48):15889-97.

The activity of the lactose transporter from Streptococcus thermophilus is increased by phosphorylated IIA and the action of beta-galactosidase.

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Department of Biochemistry, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG, Groningen, The Netherlands.


The metabolism of lactose by Streptococcus thermophilus is highly regulated, allowing the bacterium to prefer lactose over glucose as main source of carbon and energy. In vitro analysis of the enzymes involved in transport and hydrolysis of lactose showed that the transport reaction benefits from the hydrolysis of lactose at the trans side of the membrane. Furthermore, the activity of LacS is modulated by PEP-dependent phosphorylation of the IIA domain via the general energy coupling proteins of the PTS, Enzyme I and HPr. To determine whether unphosphorylated LacS-IIA inhibited, or the phosphorylated form stimulated lactose counterflow, a LacS-IIA truncation mutant of LacS was constructed. Detailed analyses of transport in whole cells and in proteoliposomes indicated that unphosphorylated LacS-IIA does not functionally interact with the carrier domain. Instead, interaction of the phosphorylated form of LacS-IIA with the carrier stimulates lactose counterflow transport. The proposed mode of regulation thus proceeds via a mechanism opposite to the inducer exclusion type of regulation in gram-negative bacteria, where transporters are inhibited by binding of the unphosphorylated form of IIA(Glc).

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