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1.  Growth and Arginine Metabolism of the Wine Lactic Acid Bacteria Lactobacillus buchneri and Oenococcus oeni at Different pH Values and Arginine Concentrations 
During malolactic fermentation (MLF) in grape must and wine, heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria may degrade arginine, leading to the formation of ammonia and citrulline, among other substances. This is of concern because ammonia increases the pH and thus the risk of growth by spoilage bacteria, and citrulline is a precursor to the formation of carcinogenic ethyl carbamate (EC). Arginine metabolism and growth of Lactobacillus buchneri CUC-3 and Oenococcus oeni strains MCW and Lo111 in wine were investigated. In contrast to L. buchneri CUC-3, both oenococci required a higher minimum pH for arginine degradation, and arginine utilization was delayed relative to the degradation of malic acid, the main aim of MLF. This allows the control of pH increase and citrulline formation from arginine metabolism by carrying out MLF with pure oenococcal cultures and inhibiting cell metabolism after malic acid depletion. MLF by arginine-degrading lactobacilli should be discouraged because arginine degradation may lead to the enhanced formation of acids from sugar degradation. A linear relationship was found between arginine degradation and citrulline excretion rates. From this data, strain-specific arginine-to-citrulline conversion ratios were calculated that ranged between 2.2 and 3.9% (wt/wt), and these ratios can be used to estimate the contribution of citrulline to the EC precursor pool from a given amount of initial arginine. Increasing arginine concentrations led to higher rates of growth of L. buchneri CUC-3 but did not increase the growth yield of either oenococcus. These results suggest the use of non-arginine-degrading oenococci for inducing MLF.
PMCID: PMC92782  PMID: 11282618
2.  Influence of phenolic compounds on the growth and arginine deiminase system in a wine lactic acid bacterium 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2012;43(1):167-176.
The influence of seven phenolic compounds, normally present in wine, on the growth and arginine deiminase system (ADI) of Lactobacillus hilgardii X1B, a wine lactic acid bacterium, was established. This system provides energy for bacterial growth and produces citrulline that reacts with ethanol forming the carcinogen ethyl carbamate (EC), found in some wines. The influence of phenolic compounds on bacterial growth was compound dependent. Growth and final pH values increased in presence of arginine. Arginine consumption decreased in presence of protocatechuic and gallic acids (31 and 17%, respectively) and increased in presence of quercetin, rutin, catechin and the caffeic and vanillic phenolic acids (between 10 and 13%, respectively). ADI enzyme activities varied in presence of phenolic compounds. Rutin, quercetin and caffeic and vanillic acids stimulated the enzyme arginine deiminase about 37–40%. Amounts of 200 mg/L gallic and protocatechuic acids inhibited the arginine deiminase enzyme between 53 and 100%, respectively. Ornithine transcarbamylase activity was not modified at all concentrations of phenolic compounds. As gallic and protocatechuic acids inhibited the arginine deiminase enzyme that produces citrulline, precursor of EC, these results are important considering the formation of toxic compounds.
PMCID: PMC3768993  PMID: 24031815
polyphenols; arginine; Lactobacillus hilgardii
3.  Bioinformatic evaluation of L-arginine catabolic pathways in 24 cyanobacteria and transcriptional analysis of genes encoding enzymes of L-arginine catabolism in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:437.
So far very limited knowledge exists on L-arginine catabolism in cyanobacteria, although six major L-arginine-degrading pathways have been described for prokaryotes. Thus, we have performed a bioinformatic analysis of possible L-arginine-degrading pathways in cyanobacteria. Further, we chose Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 for a more detailed bioinformatic analysis and for validation of the bioinformatic predictions on L-arginine catabolism with a transcript analysis.
We have evaluated 24 cyanobacterial genomes of freshwater or marine strains for the presence of putative L-arginine-degrading enzymes. We identified an L-arginine decarboxylase pathway in all 24 strains. In addition, cyanobacteria have one or two further pathways representing either an arginase pathway or L-arginine deiminase pathway or an L-arginine oxidase/dehydrogenase pathway. An L-arginine amidinotransferase pathway as a major L-arginine-degrading pathway is not likely but can not be entirely excluded. A rather unusual finding was that the cyanobacterial L-arginine deiminases are substantially larger than the enzymes in non-photosynthetic bacteria and that they are membrane-bound. A more detailed bioinformatic analysis of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 revealed that three different L-arginine-degrading pathways may in principle be functional in this cyanobacterium. These are (i) an L-arginine decarboxylase pathway, (ii) an L-arginine deiminase pathway, and (iii) an L-arginine oxidase/dehydrogenase pathway. A transcript analysis of cells grown either with nitrate or L-arginine as sole N-source and with an illumination of 50 μmol photons m-2 s-1 showed that the transcripts for the first enzyme(s) of all three pathways were present, but that the transcript levels for the L-arginine deiminase and the L-arginine oxidase/dehydrogenase were substantially higher than that of the three isoenzymes of L-arginine decarboxylase.
The evaluation of 24 cyanobacterial genomes revealed that five different L-arginine-degrading pathways are present in the investigated cyanobacterial species. In Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 an L-arginine deiminase pathway and an L-arginine oxidase/dehydrogenase pathway represent the major pathways, while the L-arginine decarboxylase pathway most likely only functions in polyamine biosynthesis. The transcripts encoding the enzymes of the two major pathways were constitutively expressed with the exception of the transcript for the carbamate kinase, which was substantially up-regulated in cells grown with L-arginine.
PMCID: PMC2242806  PMID: 18045455
4.  Arginine Catabolism by Sourdough Lactic Acid Bacteria: Purification and Characterization of the Arginine Deiminase Pathway Enzymes from Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis CB1 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2002;68(12):6193-6201.
The cytoplasmic extracts of 70 strains of the most frequently isolated sourdough lactic acid bacteria were screened initially for arginine deiminase (ADI), ornithine transcarbamoylase (OTC), and carbamate kinase (CK) activities, which comprise the ADI (or arginine dihydrolase) pathway. Only obligately heterofermentative strains such as Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis CB1; Lactobacillus brevis AM1, AM8, and 10A; Lactobacillus hilgardii 51B; and Lactobacillus fructivorans DD3 and DA106 showed all three enzyme activities. Lactobacillus plantarum B14 did not show CK activity. L. sanfranciscensis CB1 showed the highest activities, and the three enzymes were purified from this microorganism to homogeneity by several chromatographic steps. ADI, OTC, and CK had apparent molecular masses of ca. 46, 39, and 37 kDa, respectively, and the pIs were in the range of 5.07 to 5.2. The OTCs, CKs, and especially ADIs were well adapted to pH (acidic, pH 3.5 to 4.5) and temperature (30 to 37°C) conditions which are usually found during sourdough fermentation. Internal peptide sequences of the three enzymes had the highest level of homology with ADI, OTC, and CK of Lactobacillus sakei. L. sanfranciscensis CB1 expressed the ADI pathway either on MAM broth containing 17 mM arginine or during sourdough fermentation with 1 to 43 mM added arginine. Two-dimensional electrophoresis showed that ADI, OTC, and CK were induced by factors of ca. 10, 4, and 2 in the whole-cell extract of cells grown in MAM broth containing 17 mM arginine compared to cells cultivated without arginine. Arginine catabolism in L. sanfranciscensis CB1 depended on the presence of a carbon source and arginine; glucose at up to ca. 54 mM did not exert an inhibitory effect, and the pH was not relevant for induction. The pH of sourdoughs fermented by L. sanfranciscensis CB1 was dependent on the amount of arginine added to the dough. A low supply of arginine (6 mM) during sourdough fermentation by L. sanfranciscensis CB1 enhanced cell growth, cell survival during storage at 7°C, and tolerance to acid environmental stress and favored the production of ornithine, which is an important precursor of crust aroma compounds.
PMCID: PMC134416  PMID: 12450844
5.  Role of the arginine deiminase system in protecting oral bacteria and an enzymatic basis for acid tolerance. 
The arginine deiminase system was found to function in protecting bacterial cells against the damaging effects of acid environments. For example, as little as 2.9 mM arginine added to acidified suspensions of Streptococcus sanguis at a pH of 4.0 resulted in ammonia production and protection against killing. The arginine deiminase system was found to have unusual acid tolerance in a variety of lactic acid bacteria. For example, for Streptococcus rattus FA-1, the pH at which arginolysis was reduced to 10% of the maximum was between 2.1 and 2.6, or more than 1 full pH unit below the minimum for glycolysis (pH 3.7), and more than 2 units below the minimum for growth in complex medium (pH 4.7). The acid tolerance of the arginine deiminase system appeared to be primarily molecular and to depend on the tolerance of individual enzymes rather than on the membrane physiology of the bacteria; pH profiles for the activities of arginine deiminase, ornithine carbamoyltransferase, and carbamate kinase in permeabilized cells showed that the enzymes were active at pHs of 3.1 or somewhat lower. Overall, it appeared that ammonia could be produced from arginine at low pH values, even by cells with damaged membranes, and that the ammonia could then protect the cells against acid damage until the environmental pH value rose sufficiently to allow for the reestablishment of a difference in pH (delta pH) across the cell membrane.
PMCID: PMC202656  PMID: 2843090
6.  Arginine metabolism in lactic streptococci. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1982;150(3):1024-1032.
Streptococcus lactis metabolizes arginine via the arginine deiminase pathway producing ornithine, ammonia, carbon dioxide, and ATP. In the four strains of S. lactis examined, the specific activities of arginine deiminase and ornithine transcarbamylase were 5- to 10-fold higher in galactose-grown cells compared with glucose- or lactose-grown cells. The addition of arginine increased the specific activities of these two enzymes with all growth sugars. The specific activity of the third enzyme involved in arginine metabolism (carbamate kinase) was not altered by the composition of the growth medium. In continuous cultures arginine deiminase was not induced, and arginine was not metabolized, until glucose limitation occurred. In batch cultures the metabolism of glucose and arginine was sequential, whereas galactose and arginine were metabolized concurrently, and the energy derived from arginine metabolism was efficiently coupled to growth. No arginine deiminase activity was detected in the nine Streptococcus cremoris strains examined, thus accounting for their inability to metabolize arginine. All nine strains of S. cremoris had specific activities of carbamate kinase similar to those found in S. lactis, but only five S. cremoris strains had ornithine transcarbamylase activity.
PMCID: PMC216318  PMID: 6281231
Journal of Bacteriology  1963;86(2):195-206.
Schimke, Robert T. (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.) and Michael F. Barile. Arginine metabolism in pleuropneumonia-like organisms isolated from mammalian cell culture. J. Bacteriol. 86:195–206. 1963.—Arginine degradation is a significant metabolic process for pleuropneumonia-like organisms (PPLO; Mycoplasma) isolated from cell culture. The conversion of arginine to ornithine in PPLO-contaminated cell culture was rapid, and occurred by the arginine dihydrolase pathway involving arginine deiminase, ornithine transcarbamylase, and carbamyl phosphokinase. In the absence of PPLO contamination, arginine conversion to ornithine was minimal and took place by an arginase activity present in the cell culture, but not in the PPLO. All five PPLO strains isolated from cell culture accomplished the conversion of arginine to ornithine, and contained the requisite enzyme of the arginine dihydrolase system, whereas PPLO-free cell cultures did not. Supplementation of PPLO culture broth with arginine increased the extent of PPLO growth. When the arginine content of the culture limited growth, arginine was completely converted to ornithine. When growth was limited in the presence of excess arginine, citrulline was the major breakdown product. It is suggested that the conversion of arginine to ornithing constitutes a significant, and possibly major, source of adenosine triphosphate for this class of organisms.
PMCID: PMC278408  PMID: 14058941
8.  The role of arginine and arginine-metabolizing enzymes during Giardia – host cell interactions in vitro 
BMC Microbiology  2013;13:256.
Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid important in growing individuals and under non-homeostatic conditions/disease. Many pathogens interfere with arginine-utilization in host cells, especially nitric oxide (NO) production, by changing the expression of host enzymes involved in arginine metabolism. Here we used human intestinal epithelial cells (IEC) and three different isolates of the protozoan parasite Giardia intestinalis to investigate the role of arginine and arginine-metabolizing enzymes during intestinal protozoan infections.
RNA expression analyses of major arginine-metabolizing enzymes revealed the arginine-utilizing pathways in human IECs (differentiated Caco-2 cells) grown in vitro. Most genes were constant or down-regulated (e.g. arginase 1 and 2) upon interaction with Giardia, whereas inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) were up-regulated within 6 h of infection. Giardia was shown to suppress cytokine-induced iNOS expression, thus the parasite has both iNOS inducing and suppressive activities. Giardial arginine consumption suppresses NO production and the NO-degrading parasite protein flavohemoglobin is up-regulated in response to host NO. In addition, the secreted, arginine-consuming giardial enzyme arginine deiminase (GiADI) actively reduces T-cell proliferation in vitro. Interestingly, the effects on NO production and T cell proliferation could be reversed by addition of external arginine or citrulline.
Giardia affects the host’s arginine metabolism on many different levels. Many of the effects can be reversed by addition of arginine or citrulline, which could be a beneficial supplement in oral rehydration therapy.
PMCID: PMC4225669  PMID: 24228819
Protozoa; Diarrhea; Citrulline; Caco-2; Nitric oxide
9.  Control of enzyme synthesis in the arginine deiminase pathway of Streptococcus faecalis. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1982;150(3):1085-1090.
The formation of the arginine deiminase pathway enzymes in Streptococcus faecalis ATCC 11700 was investigated. The addition of arginine to growing cells resulted in the coinduction of arginine diminase (EC, ornithine carbamoyltransferase (EC, and carbamate kinase (EC Growth on glucose-arginine or on glucose-fumarate-arginine produced a decrease in the specific activity of the arginine fermentation system. Aeration had a weak repressing effect on the arginine deiminase pathway enzymes in cells growing on arginine as the only added substrate. By contrast, depending on the growth phase, a marked repression of the pathway by oxygen was observed in cells growing on glucose-arginine. We hypothesize that, in S. faecalis, the ATP pool is an important signal in the regulation of the arginine deiminase pathway. Mutants unable to utilize arginine as an energy source, isolated from the wild type, exhibited four distinct phenotypes. In group I the three enzymes of the arginine deiminase pathway were present and probably affected in the arginine uptake system. Group II mutants had no detectable arginine deiminase, whereas group III mutants had low levels of ornithine carbamoyltransferase. Group IV mutants were defective for all three enzymes of the pathway.
PMCID: PMC216326  PMID: 6281235
10.  Rgg Coordinates Virulence Factor Synthesis and Metabolism in Streptococcus pyogenes 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(20):6016-6024.
Streptococcus pyogenes is a human-specific pathogen that relies on its host for metabolic substrates. Rgg-like proteins constitute a family of transcriptional regulators present in several gram-positive bacteria. In S. pyogenes, Rgg influences the expression of several virulence-associated proteins localized to the cell wall and extracellular environment. Secreted enzymes may degrade host macromolecules, thereby liberating metabolic substrates. To determine if Rgg regulation of exoprotein expression is associated with altered metabolism, the catabolic activities of S. pyogenes strain NZ131 (serotype M49) and an isogenic rgg mutant strain were analyzed during growth with complex and defined media. As expected, the wild-type strain preferentially used glucose and produced lactic acid during the exponential phase of growth. In contrast, the rgg mutant fermented arginine in the exponential phase of growth, even in the presence of glucose. Arginine degradation was associated with a neutral culture pH and excretion of NH3 and ornithine. Arginine, serine, and asparagine were depleted from mutant cultures during growth. The addition of arginine and serine to culture media increased the growth yield and NH3 production of mutant but not wild-type cultures. Addition of asparagine had no effect on the growth yield of either strain. Altered metabolism of arginine and serine in the mutant was associated with increased transcript levels of genes encoding arginine deiminase and a putative serine dehydratase. Thus, Rgg coordinates virulence factor synthesis and catabolic activity and may be important in the pathogen's adaptation to changes in the availability of metabolic substrates.
PMCID: PMC225023  PMID: 14526012
11.  Fermentative arginine degradation in Halobacterium salinarium (formerly Halobacterium halobium): genes, gene products, and transcripts of the arcRACB gene cluster. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1996;178(16):4942-4947.
Fermentative growth via the arginine deiminase pathway is mediated by the enzymes arginine deiminase, carbamate kinase, and catabolic ornithine transcarbamylase and by a membrane-bound arginine-ornithine antiporter. Recently we reported the characterization of catabolic ornithine transcarbamylase and the corresponding gene, arcB, from Halobacterium salinarium (formerly Halobacterium halobium). Upstream of the arcB gene, three additional open reading frames with halobacterial codon usage were found. They were identified as the arcC gene coding for carbamate kinase, the arcA gene coding for arginine deiminase, and a gene, tentatively termed arcR, coding for a putative regulatory protein. The identification of the arcC and arcA genes was verified, respectively, by heterologous expression of the enzyme in Haloferax volcanii and by protein isolation and N-terminal sequence determination of three peptides. The gene order arcRACB differs from the gene order arcDABC in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the only other organism for which sequence information is available. Transcripts from H. salinarium cultures grown fermentatively or aerobically were characterized by Northern (RNA) blot and primer extension analyses. It was determined (i) that monocistronic transcripts corresponding to the four open reading frames exist and that there are three polycistronic transcripts, (ii) that the level of induction during fermentative growth differs for the various transcripts, and (iii) that upstream of the putative transcriptional start sites for the three structural genes there are sequences with similarities to the halobacterial consensus promoter. The data indicate that expression of the arc gene cluster and its regulation differ in H. salinarium and P. aeruginosa.
PMCID: PMC178278  PMID: 8759859
12.  Pseudomonas aeruginosa mutants affected in anaerobic growth on arginine: evidence for a four-gene cluster encoding the arginine deiminase pathway. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1984;160(3):928-934.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO was able to grow in the absence of exogenous terminal electron acceptors, provided that the medium contained 30 to 40 mM L-arginine and 0.4% yeast extract. Under strictly anaerobic conditions (O2 at less than 1 ppm), growth could be measured as an increase in protein and proceeded in a non-exponential way; arginine was largely converted to ornithine but not entirely consumed at the end of growth. In the GasPak anaerobic jar (Becton Dickinson and Co.), the wild-type strain PAO1 grew on arginine-yeast extract medium in 3 to 5 days; mutants could be isolated that were unable to grow under these conditions. All mutants (except one) were defective in at least one of the three enzymes of the arginine deiminase pathway (arcA, arcB, and arcC mutants) or in a novel function that might be involved in anaerobic arginine uptake (arcD mutants). The mutations arcA (arginine deiminase), arcB (catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase), arcC (carbamate kinase), and arcD were highly cotransducible and mapped in the 17-min chromosome region. Some mutations in the arc cluster led to low, noninducible levels of all three arginine deiminase pathway enzymes and thus may affect control elements required for induction of the postulated arc operon. Two fluorescent pseudomonads (P. putida and P. fluorescens) and P. mendocina, as well as one PAO mutant, possessed an inducible arginine deiminase pathway and yet were unable to grow fermentatively on arginine. The ability to use arginine-derived ATP for growth may provide P. aeruginosa with a selective advantage when oxygen and nitrate are scarce.
PMCID: PMC215798  PMID: 6438064
13.  Effect of Simultaneous Inoculation with Yeast and Bacteria on Fermentation Kinetics and Key Wine Parameters of Cool-Climate Chardonnay 
Inoculating grape musts with wine yeast and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) concurrently in order to induce simultaneous alcoholic fermentation (AF) and malolactic fermentation (MLF) can be an efficient alternative to overcome potential inhibition of LAB in wines because of high ethanol concentrations and reduced nutrient content. In this study, the simultaneous inoculation of yeast and LAB into must was compared with a traditional vinification protocol, where MLF was induced after completion of AF. For this, two suitable commercial yeast-bacterium combinations were tested in cool-climate Chardonnay must. The time courses of glucose and fructose, acetaldehyde, several organic acids, and nitrogenous compounds were measured along with the final values of other key wine parameters. Sensory evaluation was done after 12 months of storage. The current study could not confirm a negative impact of simultaneous AF/MLF on fermentation success and kinetics or on final wine parameters. While acetic acid concentrations were slightly increased in wines after simultaneous AF/MLF, the differences were of neither practical nor legal significance. No statistically significant differences were found with regard to the final values of pH or total acidity and the concentrations of ethanol, acetaldehyde, glycerol, citric and lactic acids, and the nitrogen compounds arginine, ammonia, urea, citrulline, and ornithine. Sensory evaluation by a semiexpert panel confirmed the similarity of the wines. However, simultaneous inoculation led to considerable reductions in overall fermentation durations. Furthermore, differences of physiological and microbiological relevance were found. Specifically, we report the vinification of “super-dry” wines devoid of glucose and fructose after simultaneous inoculation of yeast and bacteria.
PMCID: PMC1352216  PMID: 16391046
14.  Regulation of the Arginine Deiminase System by ArgR2 Interferes with Arginine Metabolism and Fitness of Streptococcus pneumoniae 
mBio  2014;5(6):e01858-14.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is auxotrophic for arginine, and molecular analysis of the pneumococcal genome showed that the gene encoding an arginine-ornithine antiporter (ArcD) is organized in a cluster together with the arcABC genes encoding the arginine deiminase system (ADS) of pneumococci. The ADS consists of the arginine deiminase (AD), the catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase (cOCT), and the carbamate kinase (CK). Pneumococcal genomes contain three ArgR-type regulators (ArgR1, ArgR2, and AhrC) that are supposed to be involved in the regulation of arginine metabolism. Here, we identified ArgR2 of TIGR4 as the regulator of the ADS and ArcD. ArgR2 binds to promoter sequences of the arc operon, and the deficiency of ArgR2 in TIGR4 abrogates expression of the ADS, including the arginine-ornithine antiporter ArcD. Intranasal infection of mice and real-time bioimaging revealed that deletion of the arcABCDT genes attenuates TIGR4. However, the acute-pneumonia model and coinfection experiments indicated that the arginine-ornithine antiporter ArcD is essential to maintain fitness, while the deficiency of ADS enzymes has a minor impact on pneumococcal fitness under in vivo conditions. Strikingly, argR2 mutant TIGR4 outcompeted the wild type in the respiratory tract, suggesting an increase in fitness and further regulatory functions of ArgR2. In contrast to TIGR4, other pneumococci, such as D39, lacking expression of ArgR2, constitutively express the ADS with a truncated nonfunctional AD. On the basis of these results, we propose that the arginine-ornithine antiporter is essential to maintain pneumococcal fitness and that the genes of the ADS cluster are positively regulated in a strain-specific manner by ArgR2.
Pneumococci are the major etiologic agents of community-acquired pneumonia, causing more than 1.5 million deaths annually worldwide. These versatile pathogens are highly adapted to the nutrients provided by the host niches encountered. Physiological fitness is of major importance for colonization of the nasopharyngeal cavity and dissemination during invasive infections. This work identifies the regulator ArgR2 as the activator of the S. pneumoniae TIGR4 ADS and the arginine-ornithine transporter ArcD, which is needed for uptake of the essential amino acid arginine. Although ArgR2 activates ArcD expression and uptake of arginine is required to maintain pneumococcal fitness, the deficiency of ArgR2 increases TIGR4 virulence under in vivo conditions, suggesting that other factors regulated by ArgR2 counterbalance the reduced uptake of arginine by ArcD. Thus, this work illustrates that the physiological homeostasis of pneumococci is complex and that ArgR2 plays a key role in maintaining bacterial fitness.
PMCID: PMC4278536  PMID: 25538192
15.  Genetic and physiological characterization of Pseudomonas aeruginosa mutants affected in the catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1979;139(3):713-720.
In Pseudomonas aeruginosa arginine can be degraded by the arginine "dihydrolase" system, consisting of arginine deiminase, catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase, and carbamate kinase. Mutants of P. aeruginosa strain PAO affected in the structural gene (arcB) of the catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase were isolated. Firt, and argF mutation (i.e., a block in the anabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase) was suppressed specifically by a mutationally altered catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase capable of functioning in the anabolic direction. The suppressor locus arcB (Su) was mapped by transduction between hisII and argA. Second, mutants having lost suppressor activity were obtained. The Su- mutations were very closely linked to arcB (Su) and caused strongly reduced ornithine carbamoyltransferase activities in vitro. Under aerobic conditions, a mutant (PA0630) which had less than 1% of the wild-type catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase activity grew on arginine as the only carbon and nitrogen source, at the wild-type growth rate. When oxygen was limiting, strain PA0630 grown on arginine excreted citrulline in the stationary growth phase. These observations suggest that during aerobic growth arginine is not degraded exclusively via the dihydrolase pathway.
PMCID: PMC218014  PMID: 113384
16.  Regulation of enzyme synthesis in the arginine deiminase pathway of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1980;144(1):159-163.
The three enzymes of the arginine deiminase pathway in Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAO were induced strongly (50- to 100-fold) by a shift from aerobic growth conditions to very low oxygen tension. Arginine in the culture medium was not essential for induction, but increased the maximum enzyme levels twofold. The induction of the three enzymes arginine deiminase (EC, catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase (EC, and carbamate kinase (EC appeared to be coordinate. Catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase was studied in most detail. Nitrate and nitrite, which can replace oxygen as terminal electron acceptors in P. aeruginosa, partially prevented enzyme induction by low oxygen tension in the wild-type strain, but not in nar (nitrate reductase-negative) mutants. Glucose was found to exert catabolite repression of the deiminase pathway. Generally, conditions of stress, such as depletion of the carbon and energy source or the phosphate source, resulted in induced synthesis of catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase. The induction of the deiminase pathway is thought to mobilize intra- and extracellular reserves of arginine, which is used as a source of adenosine 5'-triphosphate in the absence of respiration.
PMCID: PMC294610  PMID: 6252188
17.  Characterization of the Arginine Deiminase Operon of Streptococcus rattus FA-1 
The arginine deiminase system (ADS) is of critical importance in oral biofilm pH homeostasis and microbial ecology. The ADS consists of three enzymes. Arginine is hydrolyzed by AD (ArcA) to generate citrulline and ammonia. Citrulline is then converted to ornithine and carbamoylphosphate via ornithine carbamoyltransferase (ArcB). Finally, carbamate kinase (ArcC) transfers a phosphate from carbamoylphosphate to ADP, yielding ATP. Ammonia production from this pathway protects bacteria from lethal acidification, and ATP production provides a source of energy for the cells. The purpose of this study was to initiate a characterization of the arc operon of Streptococcus rattus, the least cariogenic and sole ADS-positive member of the mutans streptococci. Using an arcB gene fragment obtained by degenerate PCRs, the FA-1 arc operon was identified in subgenomic DNA libraries and sequence analysis was performed. Results showed that the genes encoding the AD pathway in S. rattus FA-1 are organized as an arcABCDT-adiR operon gene cluster, including the enzymes of the pathway, an arginine-ornithine antiporter (ArcD) and a putative regulatory protein (AdiR). The arcA transcriptional start site was identified by primer extension, and a σ70-like promoter was mapped 5′ to arcA. Reverse transcriptase PCR was used to establish that arcABCDT could be cotranscribed. Reporter gene fusions and AD assays demonstrated that the operon is regulated by substrate induction and catabolite repression, the latter apparently through a CcpA-dependent pathway.
PMCID: PMC368411  PMID: 15006749
18.  Oxygen and nitrate in utilization by Bacillus licheniformis of the arginase and arginine deiminase routes of arginine catabolism and other factors affecting their syntheses. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1978;135(3):920-927.
Bacillus licheniformis has two pathways of arginine catabolism. In well-aerated cultures, the arginase route is present, and levels of catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase were low. An arginase pathway-deficient mutant, BL196, failed to grow on arginine as a nitrogen source under these conditions. In anaerobiosis, the wild type contained very low levels of arginase and ornithine transaminase. BL196 grew normally on glucose plus arginine in anaerobiosis and, like the wild type, had appreciable levels of catabolic transferase. Nitrate, like oxygen, repressed ornithine carbamoyltransferase and stimulated arginase synthesis. In aerobic cultures, arginase was repressed by glutamine in the presence of glucose, but not when the carbon-energy source was poor. In anaerobic cultures, ammonia repressed catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase, but glutamate and glutamine stimulated its synthesis. A second mutant, derived from BL196, retained the low arginase and ornithine transaminase levels of BL196 but produced high levels of deiminase pathway enzymes in the presence of oxygen.
PMCID: PMC222465  PMID: 690081
19.  Arginine Deiminase in Staphylococcus epidermidis Functions To Augment Biofilm Maturation through pH Homeostasis 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(12):2277-2289.
Allelic replacement mutants were constructed within arginine deiminase (arcA1 and arcA2) to assess the function of the arginine deiminase (ADI) pathway in organic acid resistance and biofilm formation of Staphylococcus epidermidis 1457. A growth-dependent acidification assay (pH ∼5.0 to ∼5.2) determined that strain 1457 devoid of arginine deiminase activity (1457 ΔADI) was significantly less viable than the wild type following depletion of glucose and in the presence of arginine. However, no difference in viability was noted for individual 1457 ΔarcA1 (native) or ΔarcA2 (arginine catabolic mobile element [ACME]-derived) mutants, suggesting that the native and ACME-derived ADIs are compensatory in S. epidermidis. Furthermore, flow cytometry and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy results suggested that organic acid stress resulted in oxidative stress that could be partially rescued by the iron chelator dipyridyl. Collectively, these results suggest that formation of hydroxyl radicals is partially responsible for cell death via organic acid stress and that ADI-derived ammonia functions to counteract this acid stress. Finally, static biofilm assays determined that viability, ammonia synthesis, and pH were reduced in strain 1457 ΔADI following 120 h of growth in comparison to strain 1457 and the arcA1 and arcA2 single mutants. It is hypothesized that ammonia synthesis via the ADI pathway is important to reduce pH stress in specific microniches that contain high concentrations of organic acids.
PMCID: PMC4054176  PMID: 24727224
20.  Structural Characterization of the Enzymes Composing the Arginine Deiminase Pathway in Mycoplasma penetrans 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47886.
The metabolism of arginine towards ATP synthesis has been considered a major source of energy for microorganisms such as Mycoplasma penetrans in anaerobic conditions. Additionally, this pathway has also been implicated in pathogenic and virulence mechanism of certain microorganisms, i.e. protection from acidic stress during infection. In this work we present the crystal structures of the three enzymes composing the gene cluster of the arginine deiminase pathway from M. penetrans: arginine deiminase (ADI), ornithine carbamoyltransferase (OTC) and carbamate kinase (CK). The arginine deiminase (ADI) structure has been refined to 2.3 Å resolution in its apo-form, displaying an “open” conformation of the active site of the enzyme in comparison to previous complex structures with substrate intermediates. The active site pocket of ADI is empty, with some of the catalytic and binding residues far from their active positions, suggesting major conformational changes upon substrate binding. Ornithine carbamoyltransferase (OTC) has been refined in two crystal forms at 2.5 Å and 2.6 Å resolution, respectively, both displaying an identical dodecameric structure with a 23-point symmetry. The dodecameric structure of OTC represents the highest level of organization in this protein family and in M.penetrans it is constituted by a novel interface between the four catalytic homotrimers. Carbamate kinase (CK) has been refined to 2.5 Å resolution and its structure is characterized by the presence of two ion sulfates in the active site, one in the carbamoyl phosphate binding site and the other in the β-phosphate ADP binding pocket of the enzyme. The CK structure also shows variations in some of the elements that regulate the catalytic activity of the enzyme. The relatively low number of metabolic pathways and the relevance in human pathogenesis of Mycoplasma penetrans places the arginine deiminase pathway enzymes as potential targets to design specific inhibitors against this human parasite.
PMCID: PMC3474736  PMID: 23082227
21.  Expression Pattern and Biochemical Properties of Zebrafish N-Acetylglutamate Synthase 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85597.
The urea cycle converts ammonia, a waste product of protein catabolism, into urea. Because fish dispose ammonia directly into water, the role of the urea cycle in fish remains unknown. Six enzymes, N-acetylglutamate synthase (NAGS), carbamylphosphate synthetase III, ornithine transcarbamylase, argininosuccinate synthase, argininosuccinate lyase and arginase 1, and two membrane transporters, ornithine transporter and aralar, comprise the urea cycle. The genes for all six enzymes and both transporters are present in the zebrafish genome. NAGS (EC catalyzes the formation of N-acetylglutamate from glutamate and acetyl coenzyme A and in zebrafish is partially inhibited by L-arginine. NAGS and other urea cycle genes are highly expressed during the first four days of zebrafish development. Sequence alignment of NAGS proteins from six fish species revealed three regions of sequence conservation: the mitochondrial targeting signal (MTS) at the N-terminus, followed by the variable and conserved segments. Removal of the MTS yields mature zebrafish NAGS (zfNAGS-M) while removal of the variable segment from zfNAGS-M results in conserved NAGS (zfNAGS-C). Both zfNAGS-M and zfNAGS-C are tetramers in the absence of L-arginine; addition of L-arginine decreased partition coefficients of both proteins. The zfNAGS-C unfolds over a broader temperature range and has higher specific activity than zfNAGS-M. In the presence of L-arginine the apparent Vmax of zfNAGS-M and zfNAGS-C decreased, their Kmapp for acetyl coenzyme A increased while the Kmapp for glutamate remained unchanged. The expression pattern of NAGS and other urea cycle genes in developing zebrafish suggests that they may have a role in citrulline and/or arginine biosynthesis during the first day of development and in ammonia detoxification thereafter. Biophysical and biochemical properties of zebrafish NAGS suggest that the variable segment may stabilize a tetrameric state of zfNAGS-M and that under physiological conditions zebrafish NAGS catalyzes formation of N-acetylglutamate at the maximal rate.
PMCID: PMC3899043  PMID: 24465614
22.  Regulation of arginine-ornithine exchange and the arginine deiminase pathway in Streptococcus lactis. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1987;169(12):5597-5604.
Streptococcus lactis metabolizes arginine by the arginine deiminase (ADI) pathway. Resting cells of S. lactis grown in the presence of galactose and arginine maintain a high intracellular ornithine pool in the absence of arginine and other exogenous energy sources. Addition of arginine results in a rapid release of ornithine concomitant with the uptake of arginine. Subsequent arginine metabolism results intracellularly in high citrulline and low ornithine pools. Arginine-ornithine exchange was shown to occur in a 1-to-1 ratio and to be independent of a proton motive force. The driving force for arginine uptake in intact cells is supplied by the ornithine and arginine concentration gradients formed during arginine metabolism. These results confirm studies of arginine and ornithine transport in membrane vesicles of S. lactis (A. J. M. Driessen, B. Poolman, R. Kiewiet, and W. N. Konings, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 84:6093-6097). The activity of the ADI pathway appears to be affected by the internal concentration of (adenine) nucleotides. Conditions which lower ATP consumption (dicyclohexylcarbodiimide, high pH) decrease the ADI pathway activity, whereas uncouplers and ionophores which stimulate ATP consumption increase the activity. The arginine-ornithine exchange activity matches the ADI pathway most probably by adjusting the intracellular levels of ornithine and arginine. Regulation of the ADI pathway and the arginine-ornithine exchanger at the level of enzyme synthesis is exerted by glucose (repressor, antagonized by cyclic AMP) and arginine (inducer). An arginine/ornithine antiport was also found in Streptococcus faecalis DS5, Streptococcus sanguis 12, and Streptococcus milleri RH1 type 2.
PMCID: PMC213996  PMID: 3119567
23.  Arginine Metabolism in Halobacterium salinarium, an Obligately Halophilic Bacterium 
Journal of Bacteriology  1966;91(1):113-119.
Dundas, Ian E. D. (University of Illinois, Urbana), and H. Orin Halvorson. Arginine metabolism in Halobacterium salinarium, an obligately halophilic bacterium. J. Bacteriol. 91:113–119. 1966.—Arginine was shown to be essential for growth of Halobacterium salinarium strain 1 in a chemically defined medium. Citrulline was the only compound which could substitute for arginine without affecting growth. Resting cells of H. salinarium converted arginine to citrulline and citrulline to ornithine. Cells grown in an arginine-free medium with C14-ureido-labeled citrulline incorporated the isotope mainly into the arginine of their proteins. The enzymes arginine desimidase and ornithine transcarbamylase were found and studied in cell-free extracts of H. salinarium. Experiments indicated that arginine was degraded in H. salinarium by arginine desimidase to citrulline, and that citrulline was further degraded by ornithine transcarbamylase to carbamyl phosphate and ornithine. Synthesis of arginine from citrulline seems to occur via the formation of argininosuccinic acid.
PMCID: PMC315918  PMID: 5903088
24.  Reconstitution of an Active Arginine Deiminase Pathway in Mycoplasma pneumoniae M129 
Infection and Immunity  2013;81(10):3742-3749.
Some species of the genus Mycoplasma code for the arginine deiminase pathway (ADI), which enables these bacteria to produce ATP from arginine by the successive reaction of three enzymes: arginine deiminase (ArcA), ornithine carbamoyltransferase (ArcB), and carbamate kinase (ArcC). It so far appears that independently isolated strains of Mycoplasma pneumoniae encode an almost identical truncated version of the ADI pathway in which the proteins ArcA and ArcB have lost their original enzymatic activities due to the deletion of significant regions of these proteins. To study the consequences of a functional ADI pathway, M. pneumoniae M129 was successfully transformed with the cloned functional arcA, arcB, and arcC genes from Mycoplasma fermentans. Enzymatic tests showed that while the M. pneumoniae ArcAB and ArcABC transformants possess functional arginine deiminase, ornithine carbamoyltransferase, and carbamate kinase, they were unable to grow on arginine as the sole energy source. Nevertheless, infection of a lung epithelial cell line, A549, with the M. pneumoniae transformants showed that almost 100% of the infected host cells were nonviable, while most of the lung cells infected with nontransformed M. pneumoniae were viable under the same experimental conditions.
PMCID: PMC3811776  PMID: 23897620
25.  Pyrimidine Biosynthesis in Lactobacillus leichmannii 
Journal of Bacteriology  1968;96(4):1249-1254.
Tracer studies of pyrimidine biosynthesis in Lactobacillus leichmannii (ATCC 7830) indicated that, while aspartate is utilized in the usual manner, the guanido carbon of arginine, rather than carbon dioxide, is utilized as a pyrimidine precursor. The guanido carbon of arginine also contributes, to some extent, to the carbon dioxide pool utilized for purine biosynthesis. The enzyme of the first reaction leading from arginine to pyrimidines, arginine deiminase, was investigated in crude bacterial extracts. It was inhibited by thymidylic acid and purine ribonucleotides, and to a lesser extent by purine deoxynucleotides and deoxycytidylic acid. Under the assay conditions employed, a number of nucleotides had no effect on the enzyme activity of the aspartate transcarbamylase of L. leichmannii. Growth of the cells in media containing uracil, compared to growth in media without uracil, resulted in a four- to fivefold decrease in the concentrations of aspartate transcar-bamylase and dihydroorotase and a twofold increase in the concentration of arginine deiminase, as estimated from specific enzyme activity in crude extracts of the cells. A small increase in specific enzyme activity of ornithine transcarbamylase and carbamate kinase was also observed in extracts obtained from cells grown on uracil. No appreciable change in concentration of any of the five enzymes studied was detected when the cells were grown in media containing thymidine or guanylic acid. A hypothetical scheme which suggests a relationship between the control of purine and pyrimidine biosynthesis in this bacterium and which is consistent with the experimental results obtained is presented.
PMCID: PMC252441  PMID: 5686000

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