Altered nucleotide sugar metabolism in Streptococcus thermophilus interferes with nitrogen metabolism

Int J Food Microbiol. 2007 Jan 25;113(2):195-200. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2006.06.032. Epub 2006 Sep 22.


Exopolysaccharide (EPS)-producing Streptococcus thermophilus strains have attracted interest recently, since the EPSs act as natural viscosifiers and texture enhancers of fermented foods. We have previously reported that the low level of EPS production by S. thermophilus LY03 could be improved by altering the activities of enzymes in the central carbon metabolism involved in the nucleotide sugar metabolism. In this study, we observed a reduced growth in milk for the strains with increased UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (GalU) activity together with either enhanced phosphoglucomutase activity, and/or enhanced activity of the Leloir enzymes. Rapid growth of these mutants in milk could be restored by the addition of four specific amino acids, i.e. Glu, His, Met, and Val. This amino acid requirement was confirmed in a defined medium. Furthermore, the 31P NMR spectra showed higher levels of the GalU reactants pyrophosphate (PPi) and UDP-glucose in the engineered strain, TMB 6013, compared to the parent strain, LY03. These products plus Glu and the GalU reactant UTP are known to be involved in the nitrogen regulatory system in many bacteria. Thus, these results suggest that the reaction catalyzed by GalU is connected to the nitrogen demand of these engineered strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Fermentation
  • Food Microbiology
  • Milk / microbiology*
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*
  • Phosphoglucomutase / metabolism
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / biosynthesis*
  • Streptococcus thermophilus / enzymology*
  • Streptococcus thermophilus / metabolism*
  • UDPglucose 4-Epimerase / metabolism
  • UTP-Glucose-1-Phosphate Uridylyltransferase / metabolism


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