Escherichia coli glycogen metabolism involves the regulation of glgBXCAP operon expression and allosteric control of the GlgC [ADPG (ADP-glucose) pyrophosphorylase]-mediated catalysis of ATP and G1P (glucose-1-phosphate) to ADPG linked to glycogen biosynthesis. E. coli glycogen metabolism is also affected by glgS. Though the precise function of the protein it encodes is unknown, its deficiency causes both reduced glycogen content and enhanced levels of the GlgC-negative allosteric regulator AMP. The transcriptomic analyses carried out in the present study revealed that, compared with their isogenic BW25113 wild-type strain, glgS-null (ΔglgS) mutants have increased expression of the operons involved in the synthesis of type 1 fimbriae adhesins, flagella and nucleotides. In agreement, ΔglgS cells were hyperflagellated and hyperfimbriated, and displayed elevated swarming motility; these phenotypes all reverted to the wild-type by ectopic glgS expression. Also, ΔglgS cells accumulated high colanic acid content and displayed increased ability to form biofilms on polystyrene surfaces. F-driven conjugation based on large-scale interaction studies of glgS with all the non-essential genes of E. coli showed that deletion of purine biosynthesis genes complement the glycogen-deficient, high motility and high biofilm content phenotypes of ΔglgS cells. Overall the results of the present study indicate that glycogen deficiency in ΔglgS cells can be ascribed to high flagellar propulsion and high exopolysaccharide and purine nucleotides biosynthetic activities competing with GlgC for the same ATP and G1P pools. Supporting this proposal, glycogen-less ΔglgC cells displayed an elevated swarming motility, and accumulated high levels of colanic acid and biofilm. Furthermore, glgC overexpression reverted the glycogen-deficient, high swarming motility, high colanic acid and high biofilm content phenotypes of ΔglgS cells to the wild-type. As on the basis of the present study GlgS has emerged as a major determinant of E. coli surface composition and because its effect on glycogen metabolism appears to be only indirect, we propose to rename it as ScoR (surface composition regulator).

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