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Genes Cells. 1996 Mar;1(3):293-301.

Mechanism responsible for glucose-lactose diauxie in Escherichia coli: challenge to the cAMP model.

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Department of Molecular Biology, School of Science, Nagoya University, Chikusa, Japan.



The inhibition of beta-galactosidase expression in glucose-lactose diauxie is a typical example of the glucose effect in Escherichia coli. It is generally believed that glucose exerts its effect at least partly by reducing the intracellular cAMP level. However, there is no direct evidence that the inhibitory effect of glucose on the expression of the lac operon is mediated by a reduction of the cAMP level in the glucose-lactose system.


To examine the roles of cAMP and the cAMP receptor protein (CRP) in the glucose effect, the intracellular levels of these factors were determined during diauxic growth in a glucose-lactose medium. We found that the levels of cAMP and CRP in a lactose-grown phase were not higher than those in a glucose-grown phase, although the cAMP levels increased transiently during the lag phase. The addition of exogenous cAMP eliminated diauxic growth but did not eliminate glucose repression. Glucose repression and diauxie were observed in cells which lack cAMP but produce a cAMP-independent CRP. In addition, inactivation of the lac repressor by the disruption of the lacI gene or the addition of IPTG, eliminated glucose repression.


We conclude that the repression of beta-galactosidase expression by glucose is not due to the reduction of the cAMP-CRP level but due to an inducer exclusion mechanism which is mediated by the phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent sugar phosphotransferase system.

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