Corynebacterium glutamicum is particularly known for its industrial application in the production of amino acids. Amino acid overproduction comes along with a high NADPH demand, which is covered mainly by the oxidative part of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). In previous studies, the complete redirection of the carbon flux toward the PPP by chromosomal inactivation of the pgi gene, encoding the phosphoglucoisomerase, has been applied for the improvement of C. glutamicum amino acid production strains, but this was accompanied by severe negative effects on the growth characteristics. To investigate these effects in a genetically defined background, we deleted the pgi gene in the type strain C. glutamicum ATCC 13032. The resulting strain, C. glutamicum Δpgi, lacked detectable phosphoglucoisomerase activity and grew poorly with glucose as the sole substrate. Apart from the already reported inhibition of the PPP by NADPH accumulation, we detected a drastic reduction of the phosphotransferase system (PTS)-mediated glucose uptake in C. glutamicum Δpgi. Furthermore, Northern blot analyses revealed that expression of ptsG, which encodes the glucose-specific EII permease of the PTS, was abolished in this mutant. Applying our findings, we optimized l-lysine production in the model strain C. glutamicum DM1729 by deletion of pgi and overexpression of plasmid-encoded ptsG. l-Lysine yields and productivity with C. glutamicum Δpgi(pBB1-ptsG) were significantly higher than those with C. glutamicum Δpgi(pBB1). These results show that ptsG overexpression is required to overcome the repressed activity of PTS-mediated glucose uptake in pgi-deficient C. glutamicum strains, thus enabling efficient as well as fast l-lysine production.