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Trehalose Metabolism by Bacillus popilliae1

  • Amaret Bhumiratana
  • Richard L. Anderson
  • Ralph N. Costilow
Publication Date
Aug 01, 1974


Trehalose was found to be utilized more readily than glucose for the growth of Bacillus popilliae NRRL B-2309MC. The pathway of degradation of trehalose was elucidated and found to differ from that reported for other organisms. Trehalase and trehalose phosphorylase activities could not be detected. Rather, trehalose was found to undergo phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP)-dependent phosphorylation, and the resulting trehalose 6-phosphate was cleaved by a phosphotrehalase to equimolar amounts of glucose and glucose 6-phosphate. The phosphotrehalase was purified 34-fold and shown to have a pH optimum of 6.5 to 7.0 and a Km for trehalose 6-phosphate of 1.8 mM. A mutant missing the phosphotrehalase failed to grow on trehalose but grew normally on other sugars. The mutant accumulated [14C]trehalose as [14C]trehalose 6-phosphate. Phosphorylation of trehalose by dialyzed extracts was at least 25 times faster with PEP than with adenosine 5′-triphosphate, and the phosphorylation activity was associated primarily with the particulate fraction. These data and the results of studies of [14C]trehalose uptake suggest that trehalose is transported into the cell as trehalose 6-phosphate by a PEP:sugar phosphotransferase system. Cell extracts of other strains of B. popilliae were also found to produce [14C]sugar phosphate from [14C]trehalose and to have phosphotrehalase activity.

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