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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 126.96.36.199), ornithine carbamoyltransferase (EC 188.8.131.52), and carbamate kinase (EC 184.108.40.206). 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.
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.
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.
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 220.127.116.11), catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase (EC 18.104.22.168), and carbamate kinase (EC 22.214.171.124) 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.
Certain cancers may be auxotrophic for a particular amino acid and amino acid deprivation is one method to treat these tumors. Arginine deprivation is a novel approach to target tumors which lack argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS) expression. ASS is a key enzyme which converts citrulline to arginine. Tumors which usually do not express ASS include melanoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, some mesotheliomas and some renal cell cancers. Arginine can be degraded by several enzymes including arginine deiminase (ADI). Although ADI is a microbial enzyme from mycoplasma, it has high affinity to arginine and catalyzes arginine to citrulline and ammonia. Citrulline can be recycled back to arginine in normal cells which express ASS, whereas ASS(−) tumor cells cannot. A pegylated form of ADI (ADI-PEG20) has been formulated and has shown in vitro and in vivo activity against melanoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. ADI-PEG20 induces apoptosis in melanoma cell lines. However, arginine deprivation can also induce ASS expression in certain melanoma cell lines which can lead to in-vitro drug resistance. Phase I and II clinical trials with ADI-PEG20 have been conducted in patients with melanoma and hepatocellular carcinoma and antitumor activity has been demonstrated in both cancers. This article reviews our laboratory and clinical experience as well as others with ADI-PEG20 as an antineoplastic agent. Future direction in utilizing this agent is also discussed.
Arginine; melanoma; arginine deiminase; hepatocellular carcinoma
Lactobacillus sake isolated from meat can hydrolyze arginine via the arginine deiminase pathway. Two enzymes, arginine deiminase and ornithine transcarbamylase, have been revealed by detection of their reaction products, citrulline and ornithine, respectively. The production of citrulline depends on the concentration of glucose in a synthetic medium; it does not occur when the concentration of glucose is 27.5 mM or higher.
Sequence analysis upstream of the Rhizobium etli fixLJ homologous genes revealed the presence of three open reading frames homologous to the arcABC genes of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The P. aeruginosa arcABC genes code for the enzymes of the arginine deiminase pathway: arginine deiminase, catabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase (cOTCase), and carbamate kinase. OTCase activities were measured in free-living R. etli cells and in bacteroids isolated from bean nodules. OTCase activity in free-living cells was observed at a different pH optimum than OTCase activity in bacteroids, suggesting the presence of two enzymes with different characteristics and different expression patterns of the corresponding genes. The characteristics of the OTCase isolated from the bacteroids were studied in further detail and were shown to be similar to the properties of the cOTCase of P. aeruginosa. The enzyme has a pH optimum of 6.8 and a molecular mass of approximately 450 kDa, is characterized by a sigmoidal carbamoyl phosphate saturation curve, and exhibits a cooperativity for carbamoyl phosphate. R. etli arcA mutants, with polar effects on arcB and arcC, were constructed by insertion mutagenesis. Bean nodules induced by arcA mutants were still able to fix nitrogen but showed a significantly lower acetylene reduction activity than nodules induced by the wild type. No significant differences in nodule dry weight, plant dry weight, and number of nodules were found between the wild type and the mutants. Determination of the OTCase activity in extracts from bacteroids revealed a strong decrease in activity of this enzyme in the arcA mutant compared to the wild-type strain. Finally, we observed that expression of an R. etli arcA-gusA fusion was strongly induced under anaerobic conditions.
The arginine deiminase pathway enables Bacillus licheniformis to grow anaerobically on arginine. Both the presence of arginine and anaerobiosis are needed to trigger induction of the pathway. In this study we have cloned and sequenced the arc genes encoding the pathway. They appear clustered in an operon-like structure in the order arcA (arginine deiminase), arcB (ornithine carbamoyltransferase), arcD (putative arginine-ornithine antiporter), arcC (carbamate kinase). It was found that B. licheniformis has an arginine repressor, ArgR, homologous to the B. subtilis arginine repressor AhrC. Mutants affected in argR were isolated. These mutants have lost both repression by arginine of the anabolic ornithine carbamoyltransferase and induction of the arginine deiminase pathway. Electrophoretic band shift experiments and DNase I footprinting revealed that in the presence of arginine, ArgR binds to a site upstream from the arc promoter. The binding site is centered 108 nucleotides upstream from the transcription start point and contains a single Arg box.
Four arginaseless mutants of Neurospora crassa have been isolated. All carry mutations which lie at a single locus, aga, on linkage group VIIR. A study of aga strains shows the arginase reaction to be the major, perhaps the only, route of arginine consumption in Neurospora other than protein synthesis. Ornithine-δ-transaminase, the second enzyme of the arginine catabolic pathway, is present and normally inducible by arginine in aga strains, and ornithine transcarbamylase, an enzyme of arginine synthesis, also has normal activity. Arginine inhibits the growth of aga strains. The inhibition can be reversed by spermidine, putrescine (1,4-diaminobutane), or ornithine. The results suggest that ornithine is the major source of the putrescine moiety of polyamines in Neurospora, and that putrescine is an essential growth factor for this organism. The inhibition of aga strains by arginine can be attributed to feedback inhibition of ornithine synthesis by arginine, combined with the complete lack of ornithine normally provided by the arginase reaction.
Halobacterium halobium (salinarium) is able to grow fermentatively via the arginine deiminase pathway, which is mediated by three enzymes and one membrane-bound arginine-ornithine antiporter. One of the enzymes, catabolic ornithine transcarbamylase (cOTCase), was purified from fermentatively grown cultures by gel filtration and ammonium sulfate-mediated hydrophobic chromatography. It consists of a single type of subunit with an apparent molecular mass of 41 kDa. As is common for proteins of halophilic Archaea, the cOTCase is unstable below 1 M salt. In contrast to the cOTCase from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the halophilic enzyme exhibits Michaelis-Menten kinetics with both carbamylphosphate and ornithine as substrates with Km values of 0.4 and 8 mM, respectively. The N-terminal sequences of the protein and four peptides were determined, comprising about 30% of the polypeptide. The sequence information was used to clone and sequence the corresponding gene, argB. It codes for a polypeptide of 295 amino acids with a calculated molecular mass of 32 kDa and an amino acid composition which is typical of halophilic proteins. The native molecular mass was determined to be 200 kDa, and therefore the cOTCase is a hexamer of identical subunits. The deduced protein sequence was compared to the cOTCase of P. aeruginosa and 14 anabolic OTCases, and a phylogenetic tree was constructed. The halobacterial cOTCase is more distantly related to the cOTCase than to the anabolic OTCase of P. aeruginosa. It is found in a group with the anabolic OTCases of Bacillus subtilis, P. aeruginosa, and Mycobacterium bovis.
Although Enteroccus faecalis is the paradigm for biochemical studies on the arginine deiminase (ADI) pathway of fermentative arginine catabolism, little genetic information exists on this pathway in this organism. We fill this important gap by characterizing, in an 8,228-bp region cloned from a λgt11 genomic library of E. faecalis, a five-gene cluster forming a transcriptional unit (revealed by Northern blots and primer extension in E. faecalis) that corresponds to the ADI operon. Four additional genes in the opposite DNA strand and one in the same DNA strand are also identified. Studies on the protein products, including heterologous expression and/or sequence comparisons, allow us to ascertain or propose functions for all but 1 of the 10 genes. The ADI operon genes, arcABCRD, encode, respectively, ADI, ornithine transcarbamylase, carbamate kinase, a putative Crp/Fnr-type regulator (ArcR), and a putative ornithine-arginine antiporter (ArcD). Arginine induces the expression of arcABCRD, most likely by means of two homologous ArgR/AhrC-type regulators encoded by two genes, argR1 and argR2, that precede arcABCRD in each DNA strand and that are transcribed monocistronically, their transcription being influenced differentially by glucose and arginine. Potential ArgR1/ArgR2 (double and single) binding sequences are found in the promoter regions of arcA and of argR1/argR2 themselves. In addition, putative binding sequences for ArcR and for CcpA are found, respectively, in the argR1/argR2 and arcA promoter regions. Of the three other genes identified, two form a transcriptional unit and encode a putative metal-sensitive transcriptional regulator (ArsR) and a cysteine protease.
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.
The existence of a mycoplasmal arginine deiminase which catalyzes the conversion of L-arginine to L-citrulline has been postulated. Here we show the partial amino acid sequence of arginine deiminase of Mycoplasma arginini and the complete nucleotide sequence of the arginine deiminase gene of M. arginini. The open reading frame deduced from this sequence consists of 1,230 bp encoding 410 amino acids. The mature form of this enzyme contains 409 amino acids after the deletion of the first methionine. In this open reading frame, TGA nonsense codons are used as tryptophan codons; this usage was verified by determination of the amino acid sequence. The molecular weight of the enzyme calculated from the deduced amino acid sequence is 46,372. Recently, the nucleotide sequence of the arginine deiminase gene of M. arginini was reported by Kondo et al. (K. Kondo, H. Sone, H. Yoshida, T. Toida, K. Kanatani, Y.-M. Hong N. Nishino, and J. Tanaka, Mol. Gen. Genet. 221:81-86, 1990). However, their sequence differed from ours in several places and especially at the C terminus.
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.
We measured the metabolism of ornithine in Neurospora during the transition from minimal medium to arginine-supplemented medium. Within an hour after arginine supplementation, the amount of intracellular ornithine (95% of which had been stored in vesicles) dropped by 65%, even though the catabolism of arginine produces as much ornithine as had been produced on minimal medium. The arginine level in the cell rose 10-fold. Ornithine flux through the catabolic enzyme ornithine aminotransferase increased fivefold, but flux through the mitochondrial enzyme ornithine transcarbamylase (leading to arginine synthesis) was only 20% of the rate seen on minimal medium. During this transition to arginine catabolism, the enzymes of the arginine pathway operate as an ornithine cycle, but at a restricted rate. We suggest the hypothesis that high levels of arginine may inhibit the movement of ornithine into the vesicles and into the mitochondria.
The common oral bacterium Streptococcus sanguis can degrade arginine via the arginine deiminase (AD) system. The three enzymes of this system, AD, ornithine carbamyltransferase (OTC), and carbamate kinase (CK), catalyze the breakdown of arginine to ornithine, CO2, and two molecules of ammonia, with the production of ATP from ADP. The genes of the AD system, which are subject to complex regulation in the oral streptococci, have been isolated in bacteriophage lambda by screening for AD activity. The AD gene, designated arcA, was expressed from recombinant bacteriophage or in cells harboring plasmid subclones from this phage at a level up to 1,000-fold lower than the level in fully derepressed S. sanguis but apparently under the control of its own promoter. By subcloning in Escherichia coli mutants defective in anabolic OTC (argF argL) and CK (carB), it was demonstrated that the genes for S. sanguis OTC and CK were located adjacent to the AD gene. The levels of expression of the OTC and CK genes (arcB and arcC, respectively) were also very low in E. coli, although arcC expression was not as poor as arcA and arcB expression when compared with the levels found in S. sanguis. Also, arcB and arcC were unable to complement the defects in their anabolic counterparts. Introduction of the entire AD system or subclones which encoded only the AD gene into E. coli harboring defects in arginine and pyrimidine biosynthesis resulted in a 10- to 15-fold decrease in the level of AD activity, suggesting that arginine or its metabolites may regulate AD expression. Transposon mutagenesis was utilized to construct defined mutants of S. sanguis with mutations in the AD gene cluster. AD gene expression in these mutants indicated that the expression of the AD genes in this organism is strongly interrelated. The isolation and partial characterization of the arc genes represents the first step in the genetic manipulation of the AD system in the oral streptococci for analysis of the regulation of AD, analysis of the role of the system in plaque ecology, and utilization of the system to modulate the cariogenicity of dental plaque.
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.
Group I strains of Clostridium botulinum are known to degrade arginine by the arginine deiminase pathway. We have found that C. botulinum Okra B consumed a level of arginine (20 g/liter) higher than the basal requirement for growth (3 g/liter). Arginine was probably the preferred source of nitrogen for biosynthesis but did not serve as a major source of energy. Citrulline and proline were produced as major fermentation products in media containing high levels of arginine, but in media with basal amounts of arginine these products were produced in lower quantities during growth and were later reassimilated. The results indicate that C. botulinum Okra B changes its metabolism during consumption of surplus arginine, and this change is associated with toxin repression, formation of citrulline and proline as end products, and possibly resistance to environmental stresses such as increased acidity and osmolarity.
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.