Eleven variants able to grow without proline (provided arginine was absent) were obtained by spontaneous mutation from Salmonella typhimurium LT7 proA and proAB deletion mutants. Suppression resulted from mutation at argG, which specifies Nα-acetylornithine δ-transaminase. In the absence of exogenous arginine, deficiency of this enzyme would cause derepression of the arginine pathway and accumulation of N-acetylglutamic γ-semialdehyde. N-acetylglutamic γ-semialdehyde, if deacetylated, would produce glutamic γ-semialdehyde, the proline precursor whose synthesis from glutamate is blocked in proA and proAB mutants. All of the mutants grew only slowly (some very slowly) if not supplied with arginine. Sonic-treated preparations of eight mutants had no measurable acetylornithine δ-transaminase activity, but those of the three mutants least dependent on arginine had 0.11, 0.28, and 1.48 of wild-type activity; presumably, their enzymes have low specific activity, at least in vivo. Phage P22 cotransduced argG and strA. Genetic analysis showed that the minor degree of arginine dependence of the mutant with greater than wild-type in vitro enzyme activity was a characteristic of its argG allele, not the result of modification of the argG phenotype by mutation elsewhere.
A specific action of 4-nitropyridine 1-oxide on Escherichia coli K-12 Pro+ strains leading to highly efficient, selective isolation of Pro− mutants is described. Incubation of Pro+ cells with a sublethal concentration of 4-nitropyridine 1-oxide in Penassay broth gave Pro− mutants, which lacked either the biosynthetic pathway of proline from glutamic acid to glutamyl γ-phosphate (proB−) or the pathway from glutamyl γ-phosphate to glutamic γ-semialdehyde (proA−) or both. Pro− mutants, which have the metabolic block between Δ1 pyrroline-5-carboxylate (the cyclized dehydration product of glutamic γ-semialdehyde) and proline (proC−) were not found among survivors. Treatment of Pro+ cells with N-methyl-N′-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine led to isolation of all three types of Pro− mutants, suggesting that the action of 4-nitropyridine 1-oxide on Pro+ cells is apparently distinct from the action of N-methyl-N′-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine. F-duction and interrupted mating experiments led to determination of the correlation between proline loci and the biosynthetic pathway of proline from glutamic acid.
Auxotrophic proA mutants of Escherichia coli were complemented by two different classes of Corynebacterium glutamicum genes. One of these was the asd gene. The E. coli asd gene also complements the same proA alleles. Complementation of proA by the asd+ gene requires a high asd dosage and the proB and the proC gene products. The reciprocal complementation pattern (asd by the proA+ gene) was not observed. This complementation appears to be due to multicopy suppression by a proline biosynthetic gene whose product was expected to play a negligible role in this pathway. The other class of complementing clones carries the C. glutamicum proA gene. Complementation of E. coli proA mutants by the C. glutamicum proA+ gene was optimal at high osmolarity.
Intracellular accumulation of the amino acid proline has previously been linked to the salt tolerance and virulence potential of a number of bacteria. Taking advantage of the proBA mutant Escherichia coli CSH26, we identified a listerial proBA operon coding for enzymes functionally similar to the glutamyl kinase (GK) and glutamylphosphate reductase (GPR) enzyme complex which catalyzes the first and second steps of proline biosynthesis in E. coli. The first gene of the operon, proB, is predicted to encode GK, a 276-residue protein with a calculated molecular mass of 30.03 kDa and pl of 5.2. Distal to the promoter and overlapping the 3′ end of proB by 17 bp is proA, which encodes GPR, a 415-residue protein with a calculated molecular mass of 45.50 kDa (pl 5.3). Using this information, we created a chromosomal deletion mutant by allelic exchange which is auxotrophic for proline. This mutant was used to assess the contribution of proline anabolism to osmotolerance and virulence. While inactivation of proBA had no significant effect on virulence in mouse assays (either perorally or intraperitoneally), growth at low (2 to 4% NaCl) and high (>6% NaCl) salt concentrations in complex media was significantly reduced in the absence of efficient proline synthesis. We conclude that while proline biosynthesis plays little, if any, role in the intracellular life cycle and infectious nature of Listeria monocytogenes, it can play an important role in survival in osmolyte-depleted environments of elevated osmolarity.
Intracellular proline pools have been implicated in the halotolerance of many organisms. To examine this relationship in a moderately halotolerant marine bacterium, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, proline biosynthesis genes were cloned in various plasmids. Some genetic and structural properties of those genes were examined. Subcloning showed that about 3.1 kilobases of V. parahaemolyticus DNA could complement proA and proB but not proC mutations of Escherichia coli. The same fragment would also complement some Pro- mutants of V. parahaemolyticus. Gamma-delta insertion mutagenesis of this subcloned fragment indicated that proB and proA genes of V. parahaemolyticus might be transcribed from different promoters. Two other genes, phoE and gpt, which map closely to the proBA genes in E. coli, were also found to be in close proximity to the proBA genes of V. parahaemolyticus.
A genomic DNA library of the rumen bacterium Streptococcus bovis was constructed in Escherichia coli, and recombinant plasmids able to complement proA and proB mutations of the host were found. Southern hybridization and restriction analysis showed that a 3.5-kb fragment of S. bovis DNA contained two genes, organized in an operon and coding for enzymes functionally similar to the glutamyl phosphate reductase-glutamyl kinase enzyme complex that in E. coli catalyzes the first step of proline biosynthesis. Complementation of the E. coli mutations was observed with the fragment inserted in both orientations, which suggested that the S. bovis proBA operon was transcribed from its own promoter. Genetic and biochemical data suggested that the proline biosynthetic pathway of S. bovis is similar to the one previously characterized for E. coli.
Two chromosomal loci containing the Corynebacterium glutamicum ATCC 17965 proB and proC genes were isolated by complementation of Escherichia coli proB and proC auxotrophic mutants. Together with a proA gene described earlier, these new genes describe the major C. glutamicum proline biosynthetic pathway. The proB and proA genes, closely linked in most bacteria, are in C. glutamicum separated by a 304-amino-acid open reading frame (unk) whose predicted sequence resembles that of the 2-hydroxy acid dehydrogenases. C. glutamicum mutants that carry null alleles of proB, proA, and proC were constructed or isolated from mutagenized cultures. Single proC mutants are auxotrophic for proline and secrete delta1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate, which are the expected phenotypes of bacterial proC mutants. However, the phenotypes or proB and proA mutants are unexpected. A proB mutant has a pleiotropic phenotype, being both proline auxotrophic and affected in cell morphology. Null proA alleles still grow slowly under proline starvation, which suggests that a proA-independent bypass of this metabolic step exists in C. glutamicum. Since proA mutants are complemented by a plasmid that contains the wild-type asd gene of C. glutamicum, the asd gene may play a role in this bypass.
Bacillus subtilis is known to accumulate large amounts of the compatible solute proline via de novo synthesis as a stress protectant when it faces high-salinity environments. We elucidated the genetic determinants required for the osmoadaptive proline production from the precursor glutamate. This proline biosynthesis route relies on the proJ-encoded γ-glutamyl kinase, the proA-encoded γ-glutamyl phosphate reductase, and the proH-encoded Δ1-pyrroline-5-caboxylate reductase. Disruption of the proHJ operon abolished osmoadaptive proline production and strongly impaired the ability of B. subtilis to cope with high-osmolarity growth conditions. Disruption of the proA gene also abolished osmoadaptive proline biosynthesis but caused, in contrast to the disruption of proHJ, proline auxotrophy. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that the transcription of the proHJ operon is osmotically inducible, whereas that of the proBA operon is not. Reporter gene fusion studies showed that proHJ expression is rapidly induced upon an osmotic upshift. Increased expression is maintained as long as the osmotic stimulus persists and is sensitively linked to the prevalent osmolarity of the growth medium. Primer extension analysis revealed the osmotically controlled proHJ promoter, a promoter that resembles typical SigA-type promoters of B. subtilis. Deletion analysis of the proHJ promoter region identified a 126-bp DNA segment carrying all sequences required in cis for osmoregulated transcription. Our data disclose the presence of ProA-interlinked anabolic and osmoadaptive proline biosynthetic routes in B. subtilis and demonstrate that the synthesis of the compatible solute proline is a central facet of the cellular defense to high-osmolarity surroundings for this soil bacterium.
Mutation(s) in the proBA operon of Escherichia coli confers proline overproduction and enhanced osmotic tolerance in enteric bacteria (L. N. Csonka, Mol. Gen. Genet. 182:82-86, 1981; M. J. Mahan and L. N. Csonka, J. Bacteriol. 156:1249-1262, 1983). A glutamate-dependent ATPase assay was developed and used to determine proB-encoded gamma-glutamyl kinase activity in the absence of glutamate-gamma-semialdehyde dehydrogenase. This assay indicated that the feedback insensitivity of mutant gamma-glutamyl kinase was independent of glutamate-gamma-semialdehyde dehydrogenase. However, the capacity of glutamate-gamma-semialdehyde dehydrogenase from the osmotolerant mutant to interact with the kinase was altered in thermal stability, suggesting that mutations in both proB and proA may be required for osmotolerance.
Because of the fact that proline overproduction relieves the inhibitory effects of high external osmotic strength in a number of procaryotes, we wished to clone a mutant allele, pro-74, that confers proline overproduction and enhanced osmotolerance on Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli. Therefore, the pro-74 allele, originally located on an E. coli episome F'128, was cloned into pBR322. In a parallel experiment, the wild type proB+ A+ genes of E. coli were also cloned from F'128 into pBR322. Both the pro-74 and the proB+ A+ alleles were obtained on a 10.4-kilobase-pair fragment that also contained the unrelated phoE gene. Strains carrying either the wild-type proB+ A+ or the pro-74 alleles on pBR322 grew more slowly, both in minimal medium and media of elevated osmotic strength, than strains carrying the same alleles on the low-copy plasmid, F'128, indicating that some gene in the cloned region is deleterious in high copy. We constructed Tn5 insertion mutations in the proB and the proA genes of E. coli, carried on F'128 in S. typhimurium. Using P22 transduction in S. typhimurium, we transferred these proB and proA::Tn5 insertions from F'128 into the cloned proBA genes on pBR322. From the restriction maps of the plasmids thus generated, we determined the approximate locations of the proB and the proA genes. We also performed complementation tests of S. typhimurium and E. coli proB and proA mutants by using the F'128 proB and proA::Tn5 insertions. These tests revealed that the proBA genes of S. typhimurium form an operon, whose direction of transcription is from proB to proA. They also indicated that in S. typhimurium, as in E. coli, the proB+ gene encodes gamma-glutamyl kinase, and the proA+ gene encodes gamma-glutamyl phosphate reductase. Complementation tests also indicated that the pro-74 mutation is either in the proB structural gene, or its promoter-operator.
Proline-requiring mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae were isolated. Each mutation is recessive and is inherited as expected for a single nuclear gene. Three complementation groups cold be defined which are believed to correspond to mutations in the three genes (pro1, pro2, and pro3) coding for the three enzymes of the pathway. Mutants defective in the pro1 and pro2 genes can be satisfied by arginine or ornithine as well as proline. This suggests that the blocks are in steps leading to glutamate semialdehyde, either in glutamyl kinase or glutamyl phosphate reductase. A pro3 mutant has been shown by enzyme assay to be deficient in delta 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase which converts pyrroline-5-carboxylate to proline. A unique feature of yeast proline auxotrophs is their failure to grown on the rich medium, yeast extract-peptone-glucose. This failure is not understood at present, although it accounts for the absence of proline auxotrophs in previous screening for amino acid auxotrophy.
The proline requirement of Salmonella typhimurium strain proB25 can be satisfied by either of the peptides Leu-Pro or Gly-Pro-Ala. A mutant derivative of strain proB25 isolated by penicillin selection in medium containing Leu-Pro as proline source fails to use either Leu-Pro or Gly-Pro-Ala as a source of proline. This strain is a double mutant that lacks two aminoacyl-proline-specific peptidases. One of these enzymes (peptidase Q) catalyzes the rapid hydrolysis of Leu-Pro but does not hydrolyze Gly-Pro-Ala or poly-l-proline. Mutations at a site (pepQ) near metE lead to loss of this activity. The other peptidase (peptidase P) catalyzes the hydrolysis of Gly-Pro-Ala and poly-l-proline but is only weakly active with Leu-Pro as substrate. This enzyme is similar to aminopeptidase P previously described in Escherichia coli (16). Mutations at a locus (pepP) near serA lead to loss of this enzyme.
The observed sensitivity of Listeria monocytogenes to the toxic proline analogue l-azetidine-2-carboxylic acid (AZ) suggested that proline synthesis in Listeria may be regulated by feedback inhibition of γ-glutamyl kinase (GK), the first enzyme of the proline biosynthesis pathway, encoded by the proB gene. Taking advantage of the Epicurian coli mutator strain XL1-Red, we performed random mutagenesis of the recently described proBA operon and generated three independent mutations in the listerial proB homologue, leading to proline overproduction and salt tolerance when expressed in an E. coli (ΔproBA) background. While each of the mutations (located within a conserved 26-amino-acid region of GK) was shown to confer AZ resistance (AZr) on an L. monocytogenes proBA mutant, listerial transformants failed to exhibit the salt-tolerant phenotype observed in E. coli. Since proline accumulation has previously been linked to the virulence potential of a number of pathogenic bacteria, we analyzed the effect of proline overproduction on Listeria pathogenesis. However, our results suggest that as previously described for proline auxotrophy, proline hyperproduction has no apparent impact on the virulence potential of Listeria.
A proline analogue, 4,5-dehydro-l-pipecolic acid (baikiain) induces the formation in Salmonella typhimurium of the two enzymes catalyzing the degradation of proline, proline oxidase and Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid (P5C) dehydrogenase. The level of induction by 20 mm baikiain is about 10% of the maximum level induced by proline. Since the analogue is a substrate of proline oxidase the first enzyme of the proline catabolic pathway, the oxidation derivative rather than baikiain itself might be the actual effector. Baikiain is also an inducer of proline oxidase in Escherichia coli K-12 and E. coli W. An additional effect of this analogue on proline degradation in S. typhimurium is inhibition of P5C dehydrogenase. At a concentration of 5 × 10−4m, baikiain inhibits completely the growth of strains constitutive for proline oxidase. This inhibition, which can be overcome by proline, occurs in the presence or absence of P5C dehydrogenase activity. Three spontaneously occurring mutants resistant to baikiain were isolated from constitutive strains. All are pleiotropic-negative for the proline-degrading enzymes. The sites of these mutations are linked to the put region. Although the mechanism of toxicity has not been determined, baikiain provides a simple and direct selection for obtaining mutants unable to degrade proline. In addition, it allows selection for strains with an inducible rather than constitutive phenotype.
The moderately halophilic bacterium Halobacillus halophilus copes with the salinity in its environment by the production of compatible solutes. At intermediate salinities of around 1 M NaCl, cells produce glutamate and glutamine in a chloride-dependent manner (S. H. Saum, J. F. Sydow, P. Palm, F. Pfeiffer, D. Oesterhelt, and V. Müller, J. Bacteriol. 188:6808-6815, 2006). Here, we report that H. halophilus switches its osmolyte strategy and produces proline as the dominant solute at higher salinities (2 to 3 M NaCl). The proline biosynthesis genes proH, proJ, and proA were identified. They form a transcriptional unit and encode the pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase, the glutamate-5-kinase, and the glutamate-5-semialdehyde dehydrogenase, respectively, catalyzing proline biosynthesis from glutamate. Expression of the genes was clearly salinity dependent and reached a maximum at 2.5 M NaCl, indicating that the pro operon is involved in salinity-induced proline biosynthesis. To address the role of anions in the process of pro gene activation and proline biosynthesis, we used a cell suspension system. Chloride salts lead to the highest accumulation of proline. Interestingly, chloride could be substituted to a large extent by glutamate salts. This unexpected finding was further analyzed on the transcriptional level. The cellular mRNA levels of all three pro genes were increased up to 90-fold in the presence of glutamate. A titration revealed that a minimal concentration of 0.2 M glutamate already stimulated pro gene expression. These data demonstrate that the solute glutamate is involved in the switch of osmolyte strategy from glutamate to proline as the dominant compatible solute during the transition from moderate to high salinity.
A 2.9 kb DNA fragment carrying the Escherichia coli proBA region, which encodes the first two enzymes of the proline biosynthetic pathway, was subcloned onto an expression plasmid carrying both the bacteriophage lambda PL promoter (lambda PL) and the lambda gene encoding a thermolabile cI repressor protein (cI857). Derepression of the lambda PL promoter by thermal inactivation of the cI857 repressor protein resulted in the simultaneous overproduction of the proB (gamma-glutamyl kinase) and proA (gamma-glutamyl phosphate reductase) gene products. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the proBA locus allowed gene assignments consistent with the NH2 and COOH-terminal analyses and amino acid compositions of homogeneous preparations of the proB and proA proteins. The contiguous nature of the proB and proA genes suggests that the two genes constitute an operon in which proB precedes proA.
Possible mechanisms involved in the action of 4-nitropyridine 1-oxide (4NPO) on Escherichia coli K-12 pro+ cells in Penassay broth leading to the selective isolation of proA− and/or proB− mutants but not proC− mutant were studied. Reconstruction experiments between pro+ and pro− cells, together with experiments on the bactericidal action of 4NPO on pro+ and pro− cells, indicated that 4NPO is more toxic for pro+ and proC− cells than for proA− and proB− cells. These results, coupled with data indicating little mutagenicity of 4NPO on E. coli cells, led us to conclude that the selection of proA− and/or proB− cells that arose spontaneously in the pro+ culture is a possible mechanism for the action of 4NPO. Examination of 4NPO sensitivity of pro+ transductants derived from proA− and proB− cells with P1 vir phage and pro+ cells as donor and of pro+ spontaneous revertants derived from those pro− cells suggested that 4NPO-sensitive gene(s) should be on, or very close to, the proA and proB loci and that both products of proA and proB genes may be involved in the sensitivity of bacteria to 4NPO. The fact that the 4NPO-sensitive allele is dominant over the 4NPO-resistant allele further indicated the possible correlation between gene products of proA and proB and the 4NPO sensitivity of bacteria. Experiments on metabolic conversion of 4NPO with bacterial cells proved that the major metabolic pathway of the agent is reduction to (possibly via 4-nitroso-) 4-hydroxylamino- and 4-amino-pyridine 1-oxides, and then to 4-aminopyridine. Investigation of the effect of structural modification of 4NPO on the elective selection of Pro− mutants in Pro+ culture further suggested that the structural feature indispensable for the action of the agent is the hydroxyl-amino or its more oxidized state at the 4 position and the N-oxide moiety at the 1 position on the pyridine skeleton. Action of 4NPO in minimal medium was found to be bacteriostatic on pro+ cells but not on pro− cells, leading to the formation of long nonseptate multinucleate filament cells on pro+ cells. Possible biochemical mechanisms of the selective toxicity of 4NPO for pro+ and pro− cells are discussed.
Strains of Salmonella typhimurium deficient in one or more of the proline transport systems have been constructed and used to study the mechanism of energy coupling to transport. Proline uptake through the major proline permease (PP-I, putP) is shown to be absolutely coupled to Na+ ions and not to H+ ions as has previously been assumed. Transport through the minor proline permease (PP-II, proP), however, is unaffected by the presence or absence of Na+. The effect of Na+ on the kinetics of proline uptake shows that external Na+ increases the Vmax for transport. It seems probable that proline transport through PP-I is also coupled to Na+ ions in Escherichia coli.
In this paper we demonstrate the existence of a second proline permease, gene proP, in Salmonella typhimurium. Uptake assays demonstrate that this second proline permease has 5 to 10% the uptake rate of the putP permease, the cell's major proline permease, when assayed at 20 microM proline. Genetic mapping by Hfr and P22-mediated genetic crosses placed the second proline permease gene at 92 min on the S. typhimurium genetic map, near the genes for melibiose utilization. F'-mediated complementation tests indicated that Escherichia coli also has the proP gene.
The pathway for proline degradation in Salmonella typhimurium appears to be identical to that found in Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. Δ1-Pyrroline-5-carboxylic acid (P5C) is an intermediate in the pathway; its formation consumes molecular oxygen. Assays were devised for proline oxidase and the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-specific P5C dehydrogenase activities. Both proline-degrading enzymes, proline oxidase and P5C dehydrogenase, are induced by proline and are subject to catabolite repression. Three types of mutants were isolated in which both enzymes are affected: constitutive mutants, mutants with reduced levels of enzyme activity, and mutants unable to produce either enzyme. Most of the mutants isolated for their lack of P5C dehydrogenase activity have a reduced level of proline oxidase activity. All the mutations are cotransducible. A genetic map of some of the mutations is presented. The actual effector of the pathway appears to be proline.
Proline is accumulated in Escherichia coli via two active transport systems, proline porter I (PPI) and PPII. In our experiments, PPI was insensitive to catabolite repression and was reduced in activity twofold when bacteria were subjected to amino acid-limited growth. PPII, which has a lower affinity for proline than PPI, was induced by tryptophan-limited growth. PPII activity was elevated in bacteria that were subjected to osmotic stress during growth or the transport measurement. Neither PPI nor uptake of serine or glutamine was affected by osmotic stress. Mutation proU205, which was similar in genetic map location and phenotype to other proU mutations isolated in E. coli and Salmonella typhimurium, influenced the sensitivity of the bacteria to the toxic proline analogs azetidine-2-carboxylate and 3,4-dehydroproline, the proline requirements of auxotrophs, and the osmoprotective effect of proline. This mutation did not influence proline uptake via PPI or PPII. A very low uptake activity (6% of the PPII activity) observed in osmotically stressed bacteria lacking PPI and PPII was not observed when the proU205 lesion was introduced.
The complete Bacillus subtilis genome contains four genes (proG, proH, proI, and comER) with the potential to encode Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase, a proline biosynthetic enzyme. Simultaneous defects in three of these genes (proG, proH, and proI) were required to confer proline auxotrophy, indicating that the products of these genes are mostly interchangeable with respect to the last step in proline biosynthesis.
We report here the cloning and sequencing of the gene for proline dehydrogenase (putA) of Bradyrhizobium japonicum. An open reading frame coding for 1,016 amino acids was identified. The B. japonicum gene codes for a bifunctional protein with proline dehydrogenase and pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C) dehydrogenase activities, as it does in Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium. Comparison of the sequences of these proteins with other proline and P5C dehydrogenase sequences identified proline dehydrogenase and P5C dehydrogenase catalytic domains. Within the proline dehydrogenation domain, several areas of high identity were observed between B. japonicum, E. coli, S. typhimurium, Saccharomyces cerevisiae put1, and Drosophila melanogaster slgA. Within the P5C dehydrogenase domain, several areas of high identity were observed between B. japonicum, E. coli, S. typhimurium, Bacillus subtilis ipa76d, and S. cerevisiae put2. A consensus catalytic site for semialdehyde dehydrogenase was observed in the P5C dehydrogenase domain. This suggests that the substrate for this domain may be the open-chain gamma-glutamylsemialdehyde, not its cyclized form, P5C. Unlike the gene isolated from E. coli, S. typhimurium, and K. pneumoniae, the B. japonicum putA gene does not appear to be part of an operon with the proline porter gene (putP). Additionally, the B. japonicum gene lacks the putative C-terminal regulatory domain present in the E. coli and S. typhimurium genes. The gene was disrupted by insertion of antibiotic resistance gene cassettes, which were then recombined into the bacterial chromosome. Symbiotically active mutant strains that were devoid of putA activity were isolated. With this proline dehydrogenase clone, we will test the hypothesis that putA in symbiotic nitrogen-fixing B. japonicum bacteroids is transcriptionally regulated by drought and other stresses.
I investigated the effects of osmotic stress on the synthesis and catabolism of proline in Salmonella typhimurium by measuring the intracellular and extracellular proline levels in various strains. In the wild-type strain, exposure to 0.8 M NaCl did not cause a significant change in the intracellular proline level; however, it brought about a 6.5-fold increase in the intracellular glutamate pool size. These results indicate that gamma-glutamyl kinase is inhibited by proline in wild-type cells in media of normal or elevated osmolarity. I also tested whether proline is subject to turnover in cells wild type with respect to the enzymes of the proline degradation pathway. In strains that were wild type for proline biosynthesis, the loss of the proline catabolic enzymes, due to putA mutations, did not result in a statistically significant increase in the intracellular proline levels. Therefore, in the wild-type strain, proline turnover does not seem to be important for control of the intracellular proline levels. However, in a proline-overproducing mutant, a putA lesion caused a threefold increase in the intracellular proline level and a 6.5-fold increase in the extracellular proline level, indicating that proline is subject to turnover in the overproducing mutant. The proline-overproducing mutants excreted large quantities of the proline into the culture medium; osmotic stress altered the partitioning of proline such that the ratio of intracellular to extracellular levels of proline increased with increased osmotic stress. The increased cellular retention of proline in media of high osmolarity is probably due to the functioning of the ProP and ProU proline transport systems, which are stimulated under conditions of osmotic stress.
Enzymes of proline biosynthesis and proline degradation which act on the same compound, delta 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate, are physically separated in yeast cells. The enzyme responsible for the final step in proline biosynthesis, pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase, converts pyrroline-5-carboxylate to proline and is located in the cytoplasm. The last enzyme in the proline degradative pathway, pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase, converts pyrroline-5-carboxylate to glutamate and is found in the particulate fraction of the cell, presumably in the mitochondrion. By subcellular compartmentation, yeast cells avoid futile cycling between proline and pyrroline-5-carboxylate.