Lactose uptake driven by galactose efflux in Streptococcus thermophilus: Evidence for a galactose-lactose antiporter

R. W. Hutkins, C. Ponne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Galactose-nonfermenting (Gal-) Streptococcus thermophilus TS2 releases galactose into the extracellular medium when grown in medium containing excess lactose. Starved and de-energized Gal- cells, however, could be loaded with galactose to levels approximately equal to the extracellular concentration (0 to 50 mM). When loaded cells were separated from the medium and resuspended in fresh broth containing 5 mM lactose, galactose efflux occurred. De-energized, galactose-loaded cells, resuspended in buffer or medium, accumulated [14C]lactose at a greater rate and to significantly higher intracellular concentrations than unloaded cells. Uptake of lactose by loaded cells was inhibited more than that by unloaded cells in the presence of extracellular galactose, indicating that a galactose gradient was involved in the exchange system. When de-energized, galactose-loaded cells were resuspended in carbohydrate-free medium at pH 6.7, a proton motive force (Δp) of 86 to 90 mV was formed, whereas de-energized, nonloaded cells maintained a Δp of about 56 mV. However, uptake of lactose by loaded cells occurred when the proton motive force was abolished by the addition of an uncoupler or in the presence of a proton-translocating ATPase inhibitor. These results support the hypothesis that galactose efflux in Gal- S. thermophilus is electrogenic and that the exchange reaction (lactose uptake and galactose efflux) probably occurs via an antiporter system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)941-944
Number of pages4
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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