Characterization of sugar mixtures utilization by an Escherichia coli mutant devoid of the phosphotransferase system
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Due to catabolite repression in microorganisms, sugar mixtures cannot be metabolized in a rapid and efficient manner. Therefore, the development of mutant strains that avoid this regulatory system is of special interest to fermentation processes. In the present study, the utilization of sugar mixtures by an Escherichia coli mutant strain devoid of the phosphotransferase system (PTS) was characterized. This mutant can transport glucose (PTS– Glucose+ phenotype) by a non-PTS mechanism as rapidly as its wild-type parental strain. In cultures grown in minimal medium supplemented with glucose-xylose or glucose-arabinose mixtures, glucose repressed arabinose- or xylose-utilization in the wild-type strain. However, under the same culture conditions with the PTS– Glucose+ mutant, glucose and arabinose were co-metabolized, but glucose still exerted a partial repressive effect on xylose consumption. In cultures growing with a triple mixture of glucose-arabinose-xylose, the wild-type strain sequentially utilized glucose, arabinose and finally, xylose. In contrast, the PTS– Glucose+ strain co-metabolized glucose and arabinose, whereas xylose was utilized after glucose-arabinose depletion. As a result of glucose-arabinose co-metabolism, the PTS– Glucose+ strain consumed the total amount of sugars contained in the culture medium 16% faster than the wild-type strain. [14C]-Xylose uptake experiments showed that in the PTS– Glucose+ strain, galactose permease increases xylose transport capacity and the observed partial repression of xylose utilization depends on the presence of intracellular glucose.
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