Inhibition of cellular adenylate cyclase activity by sugar substrates of the phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system was reliant on the activities of the protein components of this enzyme system and on a gene designated crrA. In bacterial strains containing very low enzyme I activity, inhibition could be elicited by nanomolar concentrations of sugar. An antagonistic effect between methyl alpha-glucoside and phosphoenolpyruvate was observed in permeabilized Escherichia coli cells containing normal activities of the phosphotransferase system enzymes. In contrast, phosphoenolpyruvate could not overcome the inhibitory effect of this sugar in strains deficient for enzyme I or HPr. Although the in vivo sensitivity of adenylate cyclase to inhibition correlated with sensitivity of carbohydrate permease function to inhibition in most strains studied, a few mutant strains were isolated in which sensitivity of carbohydrate uptake to inhibition was lost and sensitivity of adenylate cyclase to regulation was retained. These results are consistent with the conclusions that adenylate cyclase and the carbohydrate permeases were regulated by a common mechanism involving phosphorylation of a cellular constituent by the phosphotransferase system, but that bacterial cells possess mechanisms for selectively uncoupling carbohydrate transport from regulation.
Escherichia coli K-12 mutants lacking the adenosine 5'-monophosphate-activated pyruvate kinase have been isolated accidentally and used to prepare further mutants additionally devoid of the fructose bisphosphate-activated pyruvate kinase. Such double mutants totally devoid of pyruvate kinase activity still grow well under aerobic conditions on sugars that are catabolized by the phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP):sugar phosphotransferase system, but they grow poorly on non-phosphotransferase system sugars. This suggests that although pyruvate kinase plays a major role in the formation of pyruvate from PEP during growth on non-phosphotransferase system sugars, the operation of the PEP:sugar phosphotransferase system can contribute significantly to pyruvate production from PEP. In the absence of pyruvate kinase and an active PEP:sugar phosphotransferase system the methylglyoxal glycolytic bypass may also function to some extent for the formation of pyruvate during the catabolism of simple hexose sugars. No unique physiological role can yet be ascribed to the adenosine 5'-monophosphate-activated pyruvate kinase as a result of these studies.
The phosphoenolpyruvate phosphotransferase system (PTS) plays a major role in sugar transport and in the regulation of essential physiological processes in many bacteria. The PTS couples solute transport to its phosphorylation at the expense of phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) and it consists of general cytoplasmic phosphoryl transfer proteins and specific enzyme II complexes which catalyze the uptake and phosphorylation of solutes. Previous studies have suggested that the evolution of the constituents of the enzyme II complexes has been driven largely by horizontal gene transfer whereas vertical inheritance has been prevalent in the general phosphoryl transfer proteins in some bacterial groups. The aim of this work is to test this hypothesis by studying the evolution of the phosphoryl transfer proteins of the PTS.
We have analyzed the evolutionary history of the PTS phosphoryl transfer chain (PTS-ptc) components in 222 complete genomes by combining phylogenetic methods and analysis of genomic context. Phylogenetic analyses alone were not conclusive for the deepest nodes but when complemented with analyses of genomic context and functional information, the main evolutionary trends of this system could be depicted.
The PTS-ptc evolved in bacteria after the divergence of early lineages such as Aquificales, Thermotogales and Thermus/Deinococcus. The subsequent evolutionary history of the PTS-ptc varied in different bacterial lineages: vertical inheritance and lineage-specific gene losses mainly explain the current situation in Actinobacteria and Firmicutes whereas horizontal gene transfer (HGT) also played a major role in Proteobacteria. Most remarkably, we have identified a HGT event from Firmicutes or Fusobacteria to the last common ancestor of the Enterobacteriaceae, Pasteurellaceae, Shewanellaceae and Vibrionaceae. This transfer led to extensive changes in the metabolic and regulatory networks of these bacteria including the development of a novel carbon catabolite repression system. Hence, this example illustrates that HGT can drive major physiological modifications in bacteria.
crr mutants of Salmonella typhimurium are thought to be defective in the regulation of adenylate cyclase and a number of transport systems by the phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent sugar phosphotransferase system, crr mutants are also defective in the enzymatic activity of factor IIIGlc (IIIGlc), a protein component of the phosphotransferase system involved in glucose transport. Therefore, it has been proposed that IIIGlc is the primary effector of phosphotransferase system-mediated regulation of cell metabolism. We characterized crr mutants with respect to the presence and function of IIIGlc by using an immunochemical approach. All of the crr mutants tested had low (0 to 30%) levels of IIIGlc compared with wild-type cells, as determined by rocket immunoelectrophoresis. The IIIGlc isolated from one crr mutant was investigated in more detail and showed abnormal aggregation behavior, which indicated a structural change in the protein. These results supported the hypothesis that a crr mutation directly affects IIIGlc, probably by altering the structural gene of IIIGlc. Several crr strains which appeared to be devoid of IIIGlc in immunoprecipitation assays were still capable of in vitro phosphorylation and transport of methyl alpha-glucoside. This phosphorylation activity was sensitive to specific anti-IIIGlc serum. Moreover, the membranes of crr mutants, as well as those of wild-type cells, contained a protein that reacted strongly with our anti-IIIGlc serum. We propose that S. typhimurium contains a membrane-bound form of IIIGlc which may be involved in phosphotransferase system activity.
The main pathway of bacterial sugar phosphorylation utilizes specific phosphoenolpyruvate phosphotransferase system (PTS) enzymes. In addition to the classic PTS system, a PTS-independent secondary system has been described in which nucleotide-dependent sugar kinases are used for monosaccharide phosphorylation. Fructokinase (FK) that phosphorylates d-fructose with ATP as a cofactor has been shown to be a member of this secondary system. Bioinformatics analysis has shown that FK is a member of the “ROK” (bacterial Repressors, uncharacterized Open reading frames, and sugar Kinases) sequence family. In this study, we report the crystal structures of ROK FK from Bacillus subtilis (YdhR) (a) apo and in the presence of (b) ADP and (c) ADP/dfructose. All structures show that YdhR is a homo-dimer with a monomer composed of two similar α/βdomains forming a large cleft between domains that bind ADP and d-fructose. Enzymatic activity assays support YdhR function as an ATP-dependent fructose kinase.
Fructokinase; ROK family; metal dependent; ADP and d-fructose binding; reductive methylation
The bacterial phosphoenolpyruvate phosphotransferase system (PTS) is a highly conserved phosphotransfer cascade that participates in the transport and phosphorylation of selected carbohydrates and modulates many cellular functions in response to carbohydrate availability. It plays a role in the virulence of many bacterial pathogens. Components of the carbohydrate-specific PTS include the general cytoplasmic components enzyme I (EI) and histidine protein (HPr), the sugar-specific cytoplasmic components enzymes IIA (EIIA) and IIB (EIIB), and the sugar-specific membrane-associated multisubunit components enzymes IIC (EIIC) and IID (EIID). Many bacterial genomes also encode a parallel PTS pathway that includes the EI homolog EINtr, the HPr homolog NPr, and the EIIA homolog EIIANtr. This pathway is thought to be nitrogen specific because of the proximity of the genes encoding this pathway to the genes encoding the nitrogen-specific σ factor σ54. We previously reported that phosphorylation of HPr and FPr by EI represses Vibrio cholerae biofilm formation in minimal medium supplemented with glucose or pyruvate. Here we report two additional PTS-based biofilm regulatory pathways that are active in LB broth but not in minimal medium. These pathways involve the glucose-specific enzyme EIIA (EIIAGlc) and two nitrogen-specific EIIA homologs, EIIANtr1 and EIIANtr2. The presence of multiple, independent biofilm regulatory circuits in the PTS supports the hypothesis that the PTS and PTS-dependent substrates have a central role in sensing environments suitable for a surface-associated existence.
The histidine protein (HPr) is the energy-coupling protein of the phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP)-dependent carbohydrate:phosphotransferase system (PTS), which catalyzes sugar transport in many bacteria. In its functions, HPr interacts with a number of evolutionarily unrelated proteins. Mainly, it delivers phosphoryl groups from enzyme I (EI) to the sugar-specific transporters (EIIs). HPr proteins of different bacteria exhibit almost identical structures, and, where known, they use similar surfaces to interact with their target proteins. Here we studied the in vivo effects of the replacement of HPr and EI of Escherichia coli with the homologous proteins from Bacillus subtilis, a gram-positive bacterium. This replacement resulted in severe growth defects on PTS sugars, suggesting that HPr of B. subtilis cannot efficiently phosphorylate the EIIs of E. coli. In contrast, activation of the E. coli BglG regulatory protein by HPr-catalyzed phosphorylation works well with the B. subtilis HPr protein. Random mutations were introduced into B. subtilis HPr, and a screen for improved growth on PTS sugars yielded amino acid changes in positions 12, 16, 17, 20, 24, 27, 47, and 51, located in the interaction surface of HPr. Most of the changes restore intermolecular hydrophobic interactions and salt bridges normally formed by the corresponding residues in E. coli HPr. The residues present at the targeted positions differ between HPrs of gram-positive and -negative bacteria, but within each group they are highly conserved. Therefore, they may constitute a signature motif that determines the specificity of HPr for either gram-negative or -positive EIIs.
Sugars transported by a bacterial phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS) require two soluble proteins: HPr, a low-molecular-weight phosphate-carrier protein, and enzyme I. The structural genes coding for HPr (ptsH) and Enzyme I (ptsI) are shown to be cotransducible in Salmonella typhimurium. The gene order of this region of the Salmonella chromosome is cysA-trzA-ptsH-ptsI...(crr). A method for the isolation of trzA-pts deletion is described. One class of pts deletions extends through ptsH and into ptsI; a second class includes both ptsH and ptsI and extends into or through the crr gene. The crr gene either codes for or regulates the synthesis of a third PTS protein (factor III) which is sugar-specific. A hypothesis is presented for a mechanism of deletion formation.
Dissolved free and combined N-acetyl-d-glucosamine (NAG) is among the largest pools of amino sugars in the ocean. NAG is a main structural component in chitin and a substantial constituent of bacterial peptidoglycan and lipopolysaccharides. We studied the distribution and kinetics of NAG uptake by the phosphoenolpyruvate:NAG phosphotransferase systems (PTS) in marine bacterial isolates and natural bacterial assemblages in near-shore waters. Of 78 bacterial isolates examined, 60 took up 3H-NAG, while 18 showed no uptake. No systematic pattern in NAG uptake capability relative to phylogenetic affiliation was found, except that all isolates within Vibrionaceae took up NAG. Among 12 isolates, some showed large differences in the relationship between polymer hydrolysis (measured as chitobiase activity) and uptake of the NAG, the hydrolysis product. Pool turnover time and estimated maximum ambient concentration of dissolved NAG in samples off Scripps Pier (La Jolla, Calif.) were 5.9 ± 3.0 days (n = 10) and 5.2 ± 0.9 nM (n = 3), respectively. Carbohydrate competition experiments indicated that glucose, glucosamine, mannose, and fructose were taken up by the same system as NAG. Sensitivity to the antibiotic and NAG structural analog streptozotocin (STZ) was developed into a culture-independent approach, which demonstrated that approximately one-third of bacteria in natural marine assemblages that were synthesizing DNA took up NAG. Isolates possessing a NAG PTS system were found to be predominantly facultative anaerobes. These results suggest the hypothesis that a substantial fraction of bacteria in natural pelagic assemblages are facultative anaerobes. The adaptive value of fermentative metabolism in the pelagic environment is potentially significant, e.g., to bacteria colonizing microenvironments such as marine snow that may experience periodic O2-limitation.
Cyclic AMP (cAMP) synthesis in Escherichia coli is altered in cAMP receptor protein mutants and in phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase transport system mutants. The stimulation of cAMP synthesis observed in cAMP receptor protein-deficient mutants is largely dependent upon enzyme III of the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase transport system. The phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase transport system enzyme I is not required for elevated cAMP synthesis. These results suggest that enzyme III plays an important role in regulating adenylate cyclase activity.
We report analyses of 202 fully sequenced genomes for homologues of known protein constituents of the bacterial phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system (PTS). These included 174 bacterial, 19 archaeal, and 9 eukaryotic genomes. Homologues of PTS proteins were not identified in archaea or eukaryotes, showing that the horizontal transfer of genes encoding PTS proteins has not occurred between the three domains of life. Of the 174 bacterial genomes (136 bacterial species) analyzed, 30 diverse species have no PTS homologues, and 29 species have cytoplasmic PTS phosphoryl transfer protein homologues but lack recognizable PTS permeases. These soluble homologues presumably function in regulation. The remaining 77 species possess all PTS proteins required for the transport and phosphorylation of at least one sugar via the PTS. Up to 3.2% of the genes in a bacterium encode PTS proteins. These homologues were analyzed for family association, range of protein types, domain organization, and organismal distribution. Different strains of a single bacterial species often possess strikingly different complements of PTS proteins. Types of PTS protein domain fusions were analyzed, showing that certain types of domain fusions are common, while others are rare or prohibited. Select PTS proteins were analyzed from different phylogenetic standpoints, showing that PTS protein phylogeny often differs from organismal phylogeny. The results document the frequent gain and loss of PTS protein-encoding genes and suggest that the lateral transfer of these genes within the bacterial domain has played an important role in bacterial evolution. Our studies provide insight into the development of complex multicomponent enzyme systems and lead to predictions regarding the types of protein-protein interactions that promote efficient PTS-mediated phosphoryl transfer.
In Salmonella typhimurium, glucose, mannose, and fructose are normally transported and phosphorylated by the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system. We have investigated the transport of these sugars and their non-metabolizable analogs in mutant strains lacking the phospho-carrier proteins of the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system, the enzymes I and HPr, to determine whether the sugar-specific, membrane-bound components of the phosphonenolpyruvate: sugar phosphotransferase system, the enzymes II, can catalyze the uptake of these sugars in the absence of phosphorylation. This process does not occur. We have also isolated mutant strains which lack enzyme I and HPr, but have regained the ability to grow on mannose or fructose. These mutants contained elevated levels of mannokinase (fructokinase). In addition, growth on mannose required constitutive synthesis of the galactose permease. When strains were constructed which lacked the galactose permease, they were unable to grow even on high concentrations of mannose, although elevated levels of mannokinase (fructokinase) were present. These results substantiate the conclusion that the enzymes II of the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system are unable to carry out facilitated diffusion.
Enteric bacteria have been previously shown to regulate the uptake of certain carbohydrates (lactose, maltose, and glycerol) by an allosteric mechanism involving the catalytic activities of the phosphoenolpyruvate-sugar phosphotransferase system. In the present studies, a ptsI mutant of Bacillus subtilis, possessing a thermosensitive enzyme I of the phosphotransferase system, was used to gain evidence for a similar regulatory mechanism in a gram-positive bacterium. Thermoinactivation of enzyme I resulted in the loss of methyl alpha-glucoside uptake activity and enhanced sensitivity of glycerol uptake to inhibition by sugar substrates of the phosphotransferase system. The concentration of the inhibiting sugar which half maximally blocked glycerol uptake was directly related to residual enzyme I activity. Each sugar substrate of the phosphotransferase system inhibited glycerol uptake provided that the enzyme II specific for that sugar was induced to a sufficiently high level. The results support the conclusion that the phosphotransferase system regulates glycerol uptake in B. subtilis and perhaps in other gram-positive bacteria.
The lactose-phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system (lac-PTS) and beta-D-phosphogalactoside galactohydrolase (P-beta-gal) mediate the metabolism of lactose by Lactobacillus casei. Starved cells of L. casei contained a high intracellular concentration of phosphoenolpyruvate, and this endogenous energy reserve facilitated characterization of phosphotransferase system activities in physiologically intact cells. Data obtained from transport studies with whole cells and from in vitro phosphotransferase system assays with permeabilized cells revealed that the lac-PTS had a high affinity for beta-galactosides (e.g., lactose, lactulose, lactobionic acid, and arabinosyl-beta-D-galactoside). lac-PTS and P-beta-gal activities were determined in wild-type strains and strains defective in the glucose-phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system after growth on various sugars and in the presence of potential inducers. We found that (i) the lac genes (i.e., the genes coding for the lac-PTS proteins and P-beta-gal) were induced by metabolizable and non-metabolizable beta-galactosides (presumably acting as their phosphorylated derivatives), (ii) galactose 6-phosphate was not an inducer in most strains, (iii) the ratio of lac-PTS activity to P-beta-gal activity in a given strain was not constant, and (iv) inhibition of lac gene expression during growth on glucose was a consequence of glucose-phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system-mediated inducer exclusion, repressive effects of a functional glucose-phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system and glucose-derived metabolites. The expression of the lac-PTS structural genes and the expression of the P-beta-gal gene are independently regulated and may be subject to both positive control and negative control.
Mutants of Escherichia coli K-12, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus subtilis defective in the general components (enzyme I, or HPr, or both) of the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system are shown to be resistant to the antibiotic streptozotocin. It is shown here, employing 32P-labeled phosphoenolpyruvate, that wild-type cells of E. coli phosphorylate streptozotocin, whereas with a phosphotransferase system-defective mutant of E. coli the drug is recovered in an unaltered, free form. The internal accumulation of streptozotocin at the steady-state level was about 70 times that of the concentration in the external medium. The antibacterial action of streptozotocin, as well as the uptake of the drug, was inhibited by N-acetyl-D-glucosamine. The uptake of the antibiotic was extremely sensitive to p-chloromercuribenzoate. It is concluded that streptozotocin is taken up by E. coli via the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system and consequently accumulates in the cell at first as streptozotocin-phosphate.
The crystal structures of two 6-P-β-glucosidases from the GH1 family were determined in the apo form and in the presence of a 6′-P-salicin substrate, of the reaction product 6-P-β-glucose and of glucose corresponding to the aglycon molecule. The presence of natural ligands enabled the definition of the structural elements responsible for the recognition and hydrolysis of 6′-P-β-glucosides.
In lactic acid bacteria and other bacteria, carbohydrate uptake is mostly governed by phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase systems (PTSs). PTS-dependent translocation through the cell membrane is coupled with phosphorylation of the incoming sugar. After translocation through the bacterial membrane, the β-glycosidic bond in 6′-P-β-glucoside is cleaved, releasing 6-P-β-glucose and the respective aglycon. This reaction is catalyzed by 6-P-β-glucosidases, which belong to two glycoside hydrolase (GH) families: GH1 and GH4. Here, the high-resolution crystal structures of GH1 6-P-β-glucosidases from Lactobacillus plantarum (LpPbg1) and Streptococcus mutans (SmBgl) and their complexes with ligands are reported. Both enzymes show hydrolytic activity towards 6′-P-β-glucosides. The LpPbg1 structure has been determined in an apo form as well as in a complex with phosphate and a glucose molecule corresponding to the aglycon molecule. The S. mutans homolog contains a sulfate ion in the phosphate-dedicated subcavity. SmBgl was also crystallized in the presence of the reaction product 6-P-β-glucose. For a mutated variant of the S. mutans enzyme (E375Q), the structure of a 6′-P-salicin complex has also been determined. The presence of natural ligands enabled the definition of the structural elements that are responsible for substrate recognition during catalysis.
6-P-β-glucosidases; glycoside hydrolases; GH1; cellobiose; gentiobiose; salicin
The phosphoenolpyruvate sugar phosphotransferases of Staphylococcus aureus were surveyed biochemically to determine substrate range, inducibility and constitutivity, and requirements for soluble sugar-specific proteins. The substrate range is similar to that of the phosphotransferases of enteric bacteria, but the staphylococcal mannose and sorbitol systems are very inefficient. In addition, S. qureus has phosphotransferase activities for lactose and sucrose. The systems tested fell into two broad classes. Sugars for which there was substantial constitutive activity (fructose, mannose, sucrose, and glucose and its nonmetabolized analogues) did not require sugar-specific soluble factors for phosphorylation. Only in the case of fructose did growth in the presence of these constitutive sugars induce the corresponding phosphotransferase activity to higher levels. Kinetic experiments with each of these constitutive sugars yielded biphasic Hofstee plots; i.e., the kinetics were not characteristic of single enzymes. Preliminary experiments suggest that sucrose phosphorylation may involve the glucose and/or fructose systems. Truly inducible sugar phosphotransferase systems represent a second class; those for lactose and mannitol are the only members thus far identified. These systems are absent from uninduced cells, require soluble sugar-specific factors, and exhibit linear Hofstee plots. Sorbitol is apparently transported very poorly by intact cells but is an inducer of the mannitol system; it is phosphorylated efficiently in vitro by extracts of cells grown on either hexitol, but is taken up by intact cells at 0.1% of the mannitol rate.
The components and properties of a phosphoenolpyruvate: glucose phosphotransferase system are reviewed, along with the evidence implicating this system in sugar transport across bacterial membranes. Some possible physiological implications of sugar transport mediated by the phosphotransferase system are also considered.
The phosphoglycerate transport system was employed to supply energy-depleted, lysozyme-treated Salmonella typhimurium cells with a continuous intracellular source of phosphoenolpyruvate. When the cells had been induced to high levels of the phosphoglycerate transport system, a low extracellular concentration of phosphoenolpyruvate (0.1 mM) half maximally stimulated uptake of methyl alpha-glucoside via the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system. If the phosphoglycerate transport system was not induced before energy depletion, 100 times this concentration of phosphoenolpyruvate was required for half-maximal stimulation. Phosphoenolpyruvate could not be replaced by other energy sources if potassium fluoride (an inhibitor of enolase) was present. Inhibition of [14C]-glycerol uptake into energy-depleted cells by methyl alpha-glucoside was demonstrated. A concentration of phosphoenolpyruvate which stimulated methyl alpha-glucoside accumulation counteracted the inhibitory effect of the glucoside. In the presence of potassium fluoride, phosphoenolpyruvate could not be replaced by other energy sources. Inhibition of glycerol uptake by methyl alpha-glucoside in intact untreated cells was also counteracted by phosphoenolpyruvate, but several energy sources were equally effective; potassium fluoride was without effect. These and other results were interpreted in terms of a mechanism in which the relative proportions of the phosphorylated and nonphosphorylated forms of a cell constituent influence the activity of the glycerol transport system.
Galactose-grown cells of Streptococcus lactis ML3 have the capacity to transport the growth sugar by two separate systems: (i) the phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system and (ii) an adenosine 5'-triphosphate-energized permease system. Proton-conducting uncouplers (tetrachlorosalicylanilide and carbonyl cyanide-m-chlorophenyl hydrazone) inhibited galactose uptake by the permease system, but had no effect on phosphotransferase activity. Inhibition and efflux experiments conducted using beta-galactoside analogs showed that the galactose permease had a high affinity for galactose, methyl-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside, and methyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside, but possessed little or no affinity for glucose and lactose. The spatial configurations of hydroxyl groups at C-2, C-4, and C-6 were structurally important in facilitating interaction between the carrier and the sugar analog. Iodoacetate had no inhibitory effect on accumulation of galactose, methyl-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside, or lactose via the phosphotransferase system. However, after exposure of the cells to p-chloromercuribenzoate, phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent uptake of lactose and methyl-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside were reduced by 75 and 100%, respectively, whereas galactose phosphotransferase activity remained unchanged. The independent kinetic analysis of each transport system was achieved by the selective generation of the appropriate energy source (adenosine 5'-triphosphate or phosphoenolpyruvate) in vivo. The maximum rates of galactose transport by the two systems were similar, but the permease system exhibited a 10-fold greater affinity for sugar than did the phosphotransferase system.
The phosphoenolpyruvate(PEP):carbohydrate phosphotransferase system (PTS) is found only in bacteria, where it catalyzes the transport and phosphorylation of numerous monosaccharides, disaccharides, amino sugars, polyols, and other sugar derivatives. To carry out its catalytic function in sugar transport and phosphorylation, the PTS uses PEP as an energy source and phosphoryl donor. The phosphoryl group of PEP is usually transferred via four distinct proteins (domains) to the transported sugar bound to the respective membrane component(s) (EIIC and EIID) of the PTS. The organization of the PTS as a four-step phosphoryl transfer system, in which all P derivatives exhibit similar energy (phosphorylation occurs at histidyl or cysteyl residues), is surprising, as a single protein (or domain) coupling energy transfer and sugar phosphorylation would be sufficient for PTS function. A possible explanation for the complexity of the PTS was provided by the discovery that the PTS also carries out numerous regulatory functions. Depending on their phosphorylation state, the four proteins (domains) forming the PTS phosphorylation cascade (EI, HPr, EIIA, and EIIB) can phosphorylate or interact with numerous non-PTS proteins and thereby regulate their activity. In addition, in certain bacteria, one of the PTS components (HPr) is phosphorylated by ATP at a seryl residue, which increases the complexity of PTS-mediated regulation. In this review, we try to summarize the known protein phosphorylation-related regulatory functions of the PTS. As we shall see, the PTS regulation network not only controls carbohydrate uptake and metabolism but also interferes with the utilization of nitrogen and phosphorus and the virulence of certain pathogens.
Most strains of Escherichia coli K-12 are unable to use the enzyme IIA/IIB (enzyme IIMan) complex of the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS) in anaerobic growth and therefore cannot utilize glucosamine anaerobically. Introduction into these strains of a ptsG mutation, which eliminates activity of the enzyme IIIGlc/IIB' complex of the PTS, resulted in inability to grow anaerobically on glucose and mannose. Derivative strains able to grow anaerobically on glucosamine had mutations at a locus close to man, the gene coding for phosphomannose isomerase, and had higher enzyme IIA/IIB activities during anaerobic growth than did the parental strain. These results establish a locus affecting function of enzyme IIA/IIB that maps distant from ptsM, the probable structural gene for enzyme IIB.
The expression of the putative operon bglPH of Bacillus subtilis was studied by using bglP'-lacZ transcriptional fusions. The bglP gene encodes an aryl-beta-glucoside-specific enzyme II of the phosphoenolpyruvate sugar:phosphotransferase system, whereas the bglH gene product functions as a phospho-beta-glucosidase. Expression of bglPH is regulated by at least two different mechanisms: (i) carbon catabolite repression and (ii) induction via an antitermination mechanism. Distinct deletions of the promoter region were created to determine cis-acting sites for regulation. An operatorlike structure partially overlapping the -35 box of the promoter of bglP appears to be the catabolite-responsive element of this operon. The motif is similar to that of amyO and shows no mismatches with respect to the consensus sequence established as the target of carbon catabolite repression in B. subtilis. Catabolite repression is abolished in both ccpA and ptsH1 mutants. The target of the induction by the substrate, salicin or arbutin, is a transcriptional terminator located downstream from the promoter of bglP. This structure is very similar to that of transcriptional terminators which regulate the induction of the B. subtilis sacB gene, the sacPA operon, and the Escherichia coli bgl operon. The licT gene product, a member of the BglG-SacY family of antitermination proteins, is essential for the induction process. Expression of bglP is under the negative control of its own gene product. The general proteins of the phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system are required for bglP expression. Furthermore, the region upstream from bglP, which reveals a high AT content, exerts a negative regulatory effect on bglP expression.
Purified IIIGlc of the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system of Salmonella typhimurium inhibits glycerol kinase. Phosphorylation of IIIGlc via phosphoenolpyruvate, enzyme I, and HPr abolishes this inhibition. The glycerol facilitator is not inhibited by IIIGlc. It is proposed that regulation of glycerol metabolism by the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system is at the level of glycerol kinase.
We investigated the claim (J. Daniel, J. Bacteriol. 157:940-941, 1984) that nonphosphorylated enzyme IIIGlc of the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system is required for full synthesis of bacterial cyclic AMP (cAMP). In crp strains of Salmonella typhimurium, cAMP synthesis by intact cells was regulated by the phosphorylation state of enzyme IIIGlc. Introduction of either a pstHI deletion mutation or a crr::Tn10 mutation resulted in a low level of cAMP synthesis. In contrast, crp strains containing a leaky pstI mutation exhibited a high level of cAMP synthesis which was inhibited by phosphotransferase system carbohydrates. From these results, we conclude that phosphorylated enzyme IIIGlc rather than nonphosphorylated enzyme IIIGlc is required for full cAMP synthesis.