Transport and Catabolism of Pentitols by Listeria monocytogenes

J Mol Microbiol Biotechnol. 2016;26(6):369-380. doi: 10.1159/000447774. Epub 2016 Aug 24.


Transposon insertion into Listeria monocytogenes lmo2665, which encodes an EIIC of the phosphoenolpyruvate:carbohydrate phosphotransferase system (PTS), was found to prevent D-arabitol utilization. We confirm this result with a deletion mutant and show that Lmo2665 is also required for D-xylitol utilization. We therefore called this protein EIICAxl. Both pentitols are probably catabolized via the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) because lmo2665 belongs to an operon, which encodes the three PTSAxl components, two sugar-P dehydrogenases, and most PPP enzymes. The two dehydrogenases oxidize the pentitol-phosphates produced during PTS-catalyzed transport to the PPP intermediate xylulose-5-P. L. monocytogenes contains another PTS, which exhibits significant sequence identity to PTSAxl. Its genes are also part of an operon encoding PPP enzymes. Deletion of the EIIC-encoding gene (lmo0508) affected neither D-arabitol nor D-xylitol utilization, although D-arabitol induces the expression of this operon. Both operons are controlled by MtlR/LicR-type transcription activators (Lmo2668 and Lmo0501, respectively). Phosphorylation of Lmo0501 by the soluble PTSAxl components probably explains why D-arabitol also induces the second pentitol operon. Listerial virulence genes are submitted to strong repression by PTS sugars, such as glucose. However, D-arabitol inhibited virulence gene expression only at high concentrations, probably owing to its less efficient utilization compared to glucose.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Biotransformation
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Listeria monocytogenes / enzymology
  • Listeria monocytogenes / metabolism*
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Sugar Phosphotransferase System / genetics
  • Sugar Alcohols / metabolism*
  • Xylitol / metabolism*


  • Sugar Alcohols
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Sugar Phosphotransferase System
  • Xylitol
  • arabitol