Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2007

Abstract

Escherichia coli MG1655 uses several sugars for growth in the mouse intestine. To determine the roles of l-fucose and d-ribose, an E. coli MG1655 ΔfucAO mutant and an E. coli MG1655 ΔrbsK mutant were fed separately to mice along with wild-type E. coli MG1655. The E. coli MG1655 ΔfucAO mutant colonized the intestine at a level 2 orders of magnitude lower than that of the wild type, but the E. coli MG1655 ΔrbsK mutant and the wild type colonized at nearly identical levels. Surprisingly, an E. coli MG1655 ΔfucAO ΔrbsK mutant was eliminated from the intestine by either wild-type E. coli MG1655 or E. coli MG1655 ΔfucAO, suggesting that the ΔfucAO mutant switches to ribose in vivo. Indeed, in vitro growth experiments showed that l-fucose stimulated utilization of d-ribose by the E. coli MG1655 ΔfucAO mutant but not by an E. coli MG1655 ΔfucK mutant. Since the ΔfucK mutant cannot convert l-fuculose to l-fuculose-1-phosphate, whereas the ΔfucAO mutant accumulates l-fuculose-1-phosphate, the data suggest that l-fuculose-1-phosphate stimulates growth on ribose both in the intestine and in vitro. An E. coli Nissle 1917 ΔfucAO mutant, derived from a human probiotic commensal strain, acted in a manner identical to that of E. coli MG1655 ΔfucAO in vivo and in vitro. Furthermore, l-fucose at a concentration too low to support growth stimulated the utilization of ribose by the wild-type E. coli strains in vitro. Collectively, the data suggest that l-fuculose-1-phosphate plays a role in the regulation of ribose usage as a carbon source by E. coli MG1655 and E. coli Nissle 1917 in the mouse intestine.

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