The Phosphoenolpyruvate-Dependent Carbohydrate: Phosphotransferase System (PTS) and Control of Carbon Source Utilization

  • Joseph W. Lengeler


Unicellular microorganisms such as Escherichia coli must be able to detect changes in their environment and to adapt their metabolism rapidly to external fluctuations. Adaptation of bacterial populations to such changes is in general transient, i.e., the cellular adaptation persists not much longer than the environmental change lasts and will be accommodated during a prolonged change. Prokaryotes monitor their surroundings directly by membrane-bound sensors, and indirectly by intracellular sensors which detect changes in pools of intracellular metabolites that vary as the consequence of extracellular changes. The pools usually correlate with the transport capacity of a cell. Most sensors are linked through complex signal transduction pathways to global regulatory networks. Global control systems, however, regulate metabolic networks, e.g., those involved in carbon source utilization, cellular differentiation processes, and the behavior of bacterial populations. Their activity leads eventually to the adaptation of cells to the change in conditions. Formally speaking, bacterial adaptation and differentiation processes can be viewed in analogy to other transiently acting sensory processes, and the entire bacterial cell may thus be seen as the equivalent of a transiently responding sensory system.


Adenylate Cyclase Catabolite Repression Carbon Catabolite Repression Carbon Source Utilization Phosphotransferase System 


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  • Joseph W. Lengeler

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