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Why does Escherichia coli have two primary pathways for synthesis of glutamate?

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Biology


Escherichia coli has two primary pathways for glutamate synthetase-glutamate synthase pathway is known to be essential for synthesis at low ammonium concentrations and for regulation of the glutamine pool, but the necessity for glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) has been uncertain. The results of competition experiments between the wild type and a GDH-deficient mutant during nutrient-limited growth and of direct enzyme measurements suggest that GDH is used in glutamate synthesis when the cell is limited for energy (and carbon) but ammonium and phosphate are present in excess, while the glutamine synthetase-glutamate synthase pathway is used when the cell is not under energy limitation. The use of alternative routes for glutamate synthesis implies that the energy cost of biosynthesis may be less when energy is limited than when energy is unlimited.

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