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Regulation of carbon and electron flow in Propionispira arboris: relationship of catabolic enzyme levels to carbon substrates fermented during propionate formation via the methylmalonyl coenzyme A pathway.

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  • Research Article
  • Biology


A detailed study of the glucose fermentation pathway and the modulation of catabolic oxidoreductase activities by energy sources (i.e., glucose versus lactate or fumarate) in Propionispira arboris was performed. 14C radiotracer data show the CO2 produced from pyruvate oxidation comes exclusively from the C-3 and C-4 positions of glucose. Significant specific activities of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase were detected, which substantiates the utilization of the Embden-Meyerhoff-Parnas path for glucose metabolism. The methylmalonyl coenzyme A pathway for pyruvate reduction to propionate was established by detection of significant activities (greater than 16 nmol/min per mg of protein) of methylmalonyl coenzyme A transcarboxylase, malate dehydrogenase, and fumarate reductase in cell-free extracts and by 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic demonstration of randomization of label from [2-13C]pyruvate into positions 2 and 3 of propionate. The specific activity of pyruvate-ferredoxin oxidoreductase, malate dehydrogenase, fumarate reductase, and transcarboxylase varied significantly in cells grown on different energy sources. D-Lactate dehydrogenase (non-NADH linked) was present in cells of P. arboris grown on lactate but not in cells grown on glucose or fumarate. These results indicate that growth substrates regulate synthesis of enzymes specific for the methylmalonyl coenzyme A path and initial substrate transformation.

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