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Mol Cells. 1998 Jun 30;8(3):318-23.

Priority of pentose utilization at the level of transcription: arabinose, xylose, and ribose operons.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Taejon, Korea.


When E. coli cells were grown in minimal medium supplemented with D-ribose and D-xylose, a diauxic growth preferring D-xylose was observed. Transcription of the ribose (rbs) operon was repressed in the presence of D-xylose, phenotypically similar to catabolite repression by D-glucose, although D-ribose did not affect transcription of the xylose (xyl) operon. Complementation analysis with xylR revealed that the repression of the rbs operon by D-xylose is exerted at the transcriptional level through XylR, suggesting a novel mechanism for catabolite repression. Furthermore, it was shown that L-arabinose reduced transcriptions of both xyl and rbs operons, whereas the arabinose operon was not affected by D-xylose or D-ribose, suggesting a priority mechanism for pentose utilization.

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