Regulation of the alpha-galactosidase activity in Streptococcus pneumoniae: characterization of the raffinose utilization system

Genome Res. 1999 Dec;9(12):1189-97. doi: 10.1101/gr.9.12.1189.


A 10.2-kb gene region was identified in the Streptococcus pneumoniae genome sequence that contains eight genes involved in regulation and metabolism of raffinose. The genes rafR and rafS are transcribed as one operon, and their gene products regulate the raffinose-dependent stimulation of a divergently transcribed second promoter (P(A)) directing the expression of aga, the structural gene for alpha-galactosidase. Raffinose-mediated transcription from P(A) results in a 500-fold increase in alpha-galactosidase activity in the cell. A third promoter within the cluster is responsible for the transcription of the remaining five genes (rafE, rafF, rafG, gtfA, and rafX), whose gene products might be involved in transport and metabolism of raffinose. The presence of additional internal promoters cannot be excluded. The aga promoter P(A) is negatively regulated by the presence of sucrose in the growth medium. Consistent with catabolite repression (CR), a DNA sequence with high homology to the CRE (cis-active element) was identified upstream of the aga promoter. Sucrose-mediated CR depends on the phosphoenolpyruvate: sucrose phosphotransferase system (PTS) but is unaffected by a mutation in a gene encoding a homolog of the CRE regulatory protein CcpA.

MeSH terms

  • 5' Untranslated Regions / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Raffinose / metabolism*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / enzymology*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / genetics
  • alpha-Galactosidase / genetics
  • alpha-Galactosidase / metabolism*


  • 5' Untranslated Regions
  • RNA, Messenger
  • alpha-Galactosidase
  • Raffinose