A general method has been developed for determining the rate of entry of lactose into cells of Escherichia coli that contain β-galactosidase. Lactose entry is measured by either the glucose or galactose released after lactose hydrolysis. Since lactose is hydrolyzed by β-galactosidase as soon as it enters the cell, this assay measures the activity of the lactose transport system with respect to the translocation step. Using assays of glucose release, lactose entry was studied in strain GN2, which does not phosphorylate glucose. Lactose entry was stimulated 3-fold when cells were also presented with readily metabolizable substrates. Entry of o-nitrophenyl-β-d-galactopyranoside (ONPG) was only slightly elevated (1.5-fold) under the same conditions. The effects of arsenate treatment and anaerobiosis suggest that lactose entry may be limited by the need for reextrusion of protons which enter during H+/sugar cotransport. Entry of o-nitrophenyl-β-d-galactopyranoside is less dependent on the need for proton reextrusion, probably because the stoichiometry of H+/substrate cotransport is greater for lactose than for ONPG.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology