The phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system of oral streptococci and its role in the control of sugar metabolism

FEMS Microbiol Rev. 1997 Feb;19(3):187-207. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.1997.tb00297.x.


Oral streptococci are sugar-fermentative bacteria comprising at least 19 distinct species and are a significant proportion of the normal microbial population of the mouth and upper respiratory tract of humans. These streptococci transport several sugars by the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS) which concomitantly catalyzes the phosphorylation and translocation of mono- and disaccharides via a chain of enzymic reactions that transfer a phosphate group from phosphoenolpyruvate to the incoming sugar. A number of PTS components, including HPr, Enzyme I and some Enzymes II, have been studied at the biochemical and/or genetical level in Streptococcus salivarius, Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus. Moreover, compelling evidence indicates that the oral streptococcal PTS is involved in the regulation of sugar metabolism. Results are accumulating suggesting that a protein called IIABMan, as well as the phosphocarrier protein HPr, are key regulatory components that allow these bacteria to select rapidly metabolizable sugars, such as glucose or fructose, over less readily utilizable carbohydrates. Circumstantial evidence suggests that the molecular mechanisms by which oral streptococcal PTS exert their regulatory functions differ from mechanisms in other Gram-negative or Gram-positive bacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Mouth / microbiology
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Sugar Phosphotransferase System / chemistry
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Sugar Phosphotransferase System / genetics
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Sugar Phosphotransferase System / metabolism*
  • Streptococcus / enzymology*
  • Streptococcus / genetics
  • Streptococcus mutans / enzymology
  • Streptococcus sobrinus / enzymology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Phosphoenolpyruvate Sugar Phosphotransferase System
  • phosphocarrier protein HPr
  • phosphoenolpyruvate-mannose phosphotransferase