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Biochemical unity revisited: microbial central carbon metabolism holds new discoveries, multi-tasking pathways, and redundancies with a reason

Authors
  • Schada von Borzyskowski, Lennart1
  • Bernhardsgrütter, Iria1
  • Erb, Tobias J.1, 1
  • 1 Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Karl-von-Frisch-Straße 10 , (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Biological Chemistry
Publisher
Walter de Gruyter GmbH
Publication Date
Oct 02, 2020
Volume
401
Issue
12
Pages
1429–1441
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/hsz-2020-0214
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

For a long time, our understanding of metabolism has been dominated by the idea of biochemical unity, i.e., that the central reaction sequences in metabolism are universally conserved between all forms of life. However, biochemical research in the last decades has revealed a surprising diversity in the central carbon metabolism of different microorganisms. Here, we will embrace this biochemical diversity and explain how genetic redundancy and functional degeneracy cause the diversity observed in central metabolic pathways, such as glycolysis, autotrophic CO2 fixation, and acetyl-CoA assimilation. We conclude that this diversity is not the exception, but rather the standard in microbiology.

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