The LicT protein acts as both a positive and a negative regulator of loci within the bgl regulon of Streptococcus mutans. Academic Article uri icon


  • An open reading frame (ORF) that would encode a putative antiterminator protein (LicT) of the BglG family was identified in the genomic DNA sequence of Streptococcus mutans. A DNA sequence that would encode a potential ribonucleic antiterminator (RAT) site in the mRNA at which the putative antitermination protein LicT would bind was located immediately downstream from this ORF. These putative antitermination components are upstream of a glucose-independent beta-glucoside-utilization system that is responsible for aesculin utilization by S. mutans NG8 in the presence of glucose. It was hypothesized that these putative regulatory components were an important mechanism that was involved with the controlled expression of the S. mutans bglP locus. A strain of S. mutans containing a licT : : Omega-Kan2 insertional mutation was created. This strain could not hydrolyse aesculin in the presence of glucose. The transcriptional activity associated with other genes from the bgl regulon was determined in the licT : : Omega-Kan2 genetic background using lacZ transcriptional fusions and beta-galactosidase assays to determine the effect of LicT on these loci. The LicT protein had no significant effect on the expression of the bglC promoter, a regulator of the bglA locus. However, it is essential for the optimal expression of bglP. These data correlate with the phenotype observed on aesculin plates for the S. mutans wild-type strain NG8 and the licT : : Omega-Kan2 strain. Thus, the glucose-independent beta-glucoside-specific phosphotransferase system (PTS) regulon in S. mutans relies on LicT for BglP expression and, in turn, aesculin transport in the presence of glucose. Interestingly, LicT also seems to negatively regulate the expression of the bglA promoter region. In addition, the presence of the S. mutans licT gene has been shown to be able to activate a cryptic beta-glucoside-specific operon found in Escherichia coli.

published proceedings

  • Microbiology (Reading)

author list (cited authors)

  • Cote, C. K., & Honeyman, A. L

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Cote, Christopher K||Honeyman, Allen L

publication date

  • May 2003