Food Science and Technology Department


Date of this Version

December 2006


Published in APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, Dec. 2006, p. 7518–7530 Vol. 72, No. 12, 2006. Copyright © 2006, American Society for Microbiology. Used by permission.


The growth and activity of some Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains are stimulated by the presence of nondigestible fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which are selectively fermented by specific intestinal bacteria. Consumption of FOS, therefore, enriches for those bacteria that possess metabolic pathways necessary for FOS metabolism. In this study, a DNA microarray consisting of 7,680 random genomic library fragments of Lactobacillus paracasei 1195 was used to examine genes involved in the utilization of FOS in this organism. Differential expression profiles between cells grown on FOS and those grown on glucose provided a basis for identifying genes specifically induced by FOS. Several of the FOS-induced genes shared sequence identity with genes encoding β-fructosidases and components of phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase systems (PTS). These genes were organized in a putative operon, designated the fos operon, that may play an essential role in FOS utilization. The complete 7,631-bp nucleotide sequence of the putative fos operon was determined and consists of fosABCDXE genes, which encode a putative fructose/mannose PTS (FosABCDX) and a β-fructosidase precursor (FosE). The latter contains an N-terminal signal peptide sequence and cell wall sorting signals at the C-terminal region, suggesting its localization at the cell wall. Inactivation of the fosE gene led to impaired growth on FOS and other β-fructose-linked carbohydrates. Transcriptional analysis by reverse transcriptase PCR suggested that fosABCDXE was cotranscribed as a single mRNA during growth on FOS. Expression array analysis revealed that when glucose was added to FOS-grown cells, transcription of the FOS-induced genes was repressed, indicating that FOS metabolism is subject to catabolite regulation.

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