Correlation of activities of the enzymes alpha-phosphoglucomutase, UDP-galactose 4-epimerase, and UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase with exopolysaccharide biosynthesis by Streptococcus thermophilus LY03

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Aug;66(8):3519-27. doi: 10.1128/aem.66.8.3519-3527.2000.


The effects of different carbohydrates or mixtures of carbohydrates as substrates on bacterial growth and exopolysaccharide (EPS) production were studied for the yoghurt starter culture Streptococcus thermophilus LY03. This strain produces two heteropolysaccharides with the same monomeric composition (galactose and glucose in the ratio 4:1) but with different molecular masses. Lactose and glucose were fermented by S. thermophilus LY03 only when they were used as sole energy and carbohydrate sources. Fructose was also fermented when it was applied in combination with lactose or glucose. Both the amount of EPS produced and the carbohydrate source consumption rates were clearly influenced by the type of energy and carbohydrate source used, while the EPS monomeric composition remained constant (galactose-glucose, 4:1) under all circumstances. A combination of lactose and glucose resulted in the largest amounts of EPS. Measurements of the activities of enzymes involved in EPS biosynthesis, and of those involved in sugar nucleotide biosynthesis and the Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathway, demonstrated that the levels of activity of alpha-phosphoglucomutase, UDP-galactose 4-epimerase, and UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase are highly correlated with the amount of EPS produced. Furthermore, a weaker relationship or no relationship between the amounts of EPS and the enzymes involved in either the rhamnose nucleotide synthetic branch of the EPS biosynthesis or the pathway leading to glycolysis was observed for S. thermophilus LY03.

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Fermentation
  • Phosphoglucomutase / metabolism*
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / biosynthesis*
  • Streptococcus / enzymology
  • Streptococcus / growth & development
  • Streptococcus / metabolism*
  • UDPglucose 4-Epimerase / metabolism*
  • UTP-Glucose-1-Phosphate Uridylyltransferase / metabolism*


  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial
  • UTP-Glucose-1-Phosphate Uridylyltransferase
  • UDPglucose 4-Epimerase
  • Phosphoglucomutase