A fragment of the Lactococcus lactis chromosome containing an open reading frame of 265 codons, denoted bglR, has been characterized. The polypeptide encoded by bglR shares 36 to 30% sequence identity with a family of regulatory proteins including ArbG from Erwinia chrysanthemi, BglG from Escherichia coli, and SacT and SacY from Bacillus subtilis. These regulatory proteins are involved in positive control of the utilization of different sugars by transcription antitermination. For some of these regulatory proteins it has been demonstrated that antitermination is exerted by binding to a conserved RNA sequence, partially overlapping the transcription terminator and thus preventing transcription termination. Upstream of bglR, we identified a transcription terminator whose 5' end was overlapped by a 32-bp sequence, highly homologous to the RNA-binding site that is conserved in other regulatory systems. Constitutive expression of bglR in E. coli increased the expression of a bglG::lacZ transcriptional fusion. The fact that that the expression of BglG is autoregulated in E. coli suggests that BglG and BglR are functionally equivalent. In L. lactis, we observed that (i) the expression of a bglR::lacZ fusion is increased by beta-glucoside sugars, (ii) disruption of bglR impairs growth on some beta-glucosides, and (iii) the expression of bglR is positively autoregulated. Because of these structural and functional similarities between BglR and the transcription antiterminators of the BglG family, we propose that BglR may be the lactococcal counterpart of the E. coli BglG regulator of beta-glucoside utilization
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