Repression of the pyr operon in Lactobacillus plantarum prevents its ability to grow at low carbon dioxide levels

Hervé Nicoloff, Aram Elagöz, Florence Arsène-Ploetze, Benoit Kammerer, Jan Martinussen, Francoise Bringel

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    Carbamoyl phosphate is a precursor for both arginine and pyrimidine biosynthesis. In Lactobacillus plantarum, carbamoyl phosphate is synthesized from glutamine, ATP, and carbon dioxide by two sets of identified genes encoding carbamoyl phosphate synthase (CPS). The expression of the carAB operon (encoding CPS-A) responds to arginine availability, whereas pyrAaAb (encoding CPS-P) is part of the pyrR1BCAaAbDFE operon coding for the de novo pyrimidine pathway repressed by exogenous uracil. The pyr operon is regulated by transcription attenuation mediated by a trans-acting repressor that binds to the pyr mRNA attenuation site in response to intracellular UMP/phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate pools. Intracellular pyrimidine triphosphate nucleoside pools were lower in mutant FB335 (carAB deletion) harboring only CPS-P than in the wild-type strain harboring both CPS-A and CPS-P. Thus, CPS-P activity is the limiting step in pyrimidine synthesis. FB335 is unable to grow in the presence of uracil due to a lack of sufficient carbamoyl phosphate required for arginine biosynthesis. Forty independent spontaneous FB335-derived mutants that have lost regulation of the pyr operon were readily obtained by their ability to grow in the presence of uracil and absence of arginine; 26 harbored mutations in the pyrR1-pyrB loci. One was a prototroph with a deletion of both pyrR1 and the transcription attenuation site that resulted in large amounts of excreted pyrimidine nucleotides and increased intracellular UTP and CTP pools compared to wild-type levels. Low pyrimidine-independent expression of the pyr operon was obtained by antiterminator site-directed mutagenesis. The resulting AE1023 strain had reduced UTP and CTP pools and had the phenotype of a high-CO2-requiring auxotroph, since it was able to synthesize sufficient arginine and pyrimidines only in CO2-enriched air. Therefore, growth inhibition without CO2 enrichment may be due to low carbamoyl phosphate pools from lack of CPS activity
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Bacteriology
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)2093-2104
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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