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Analysis of the beta-glucoside utilization (bgl) genes of Shigella sonnei: evolutionary implications for their maintenance in a cryptic state

Kharat, Arun S and Mahadevan, S (2000) Analysis of the beta-glucoside utilization (bgl) genes of Shigella sonnei: evolutionary implications for their maintenance in a cryptic state. In: Microbiology, 146 (Part 8). pp. 2039-2049.

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The pattern of expression of the genes involved in the utilization of aryl beta-glucosides such as arbutin and salicin is different in the genus Shigella compared to Escherichia coli. The results presented here indicate that the homologue of the cryptic bgl operon of E. coli is conserved in Shigella sonnei and is the primary system involved in beta-glucoside utilization in the organism. The organization of the bgl genes in 5. sonnei is similar to that of E. coli; however there are three major differences in terms of their pattern of expression. (i) The bglB gene, encoding phospho-beta-glucosidase B, is insertionally inactivated in 5. sonnei. As a result, mutational activation of the silent bgl promoter confers an Arbutin-positive (Arb(+)) phenotype to the cells in a single step; however, acquiring a Salicin-positive (Sal(+)) phenotype requires the reversion or suppression of the bglB mutation in addition. (ii) Unlike in E. coli, a majority of the activating mutations (conferring the Arb(+) phenotype) map within the unlinked hns locus, whereas activation of the E. coli bgl operon under the same conditions is predominantly due to insertions within the bglR locus. (iii) Although the bgl promoter is silent in the wild-type strain of 5. sonnei (as in the case of E. coli), transcriptional and functional analyses indicated a higher basal level of transcription of the downstream genes. This was correlated with a 1 bp deletion within the putative Rho-independent terminator present in the leader sequence preceding the homologue of the bglG gene. The possible evolutionary implications of these differences for the maintenance of the genes in the cryptic state are discussed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Microbiology
Publisher: Society for General Microbiology
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Society for General Microbiology.
Keywords: cryptic genes;transcriptional activation;insertion elements;antitermination.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Molecular Reproduction, Development & Genetics
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2010 11:34
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 06:13
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/31132

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