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1.  Structures of Fluoro, Amino and Thiol Inhibitors Bound to the [Fe4S4] Protein IspH** 
doi:10.1002/anie.201208469
PMCID: PMC3734547  PMID: 23307751
Bioinorganic chemistry; Metalloenzymes; Terpenoides; IspH; LytB
2.  Growth Media Simulating Ileal and Colonic Environments Affect the Intracellular Proteome and Carbon Fluxes of Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 Strain EDL933 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2013;79(12):3703-3715.
In this study, the intracellular proteome of Escherichia coli O157:H7 strain EDL933 was analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) spectrometry after growth in simulated ileal environment media (SIEM) and simulated colonic environment media (SCEM) under aerobic and microaerobic conditions. Differentially expressed intracellular proteins were identified and allocated to functional protein groups. Moreover, metabolic fluxes were analyzed by isotopologue profiling with [U-13C6]glucose as a tracer. The results of this study show that EDL933 responds with differential expression of a complex network of proteins and metabolic pathways, reflecting the high metabolic adaptability of the strain. Growth in SIEM and SCEM is obviously facilitated by the upregulation of nucleotide biosynthesis pathway proteins and could be impaired by exposition to 50 µM 6-mercaptopurine under aerobic conditions. Notably, various stress and virulence factors, including Shiga toxin, were expressed without having contact with a human host.
doi:10.1128/AEM.00062-13
PMCID: PMC3675940  PMID: 23563955
3.  Discovery of acetylene hydratase activity of the iron–sulphur protein IspH 
Nature communications  2012;3:1042.
The final step of the methylerythritol phosphate isoprenoid biosynthesis pathway is catalysed by the iron–sulphur enzyme IspH, producing the universal precursors of terpenes: isopentenyl diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate. Here we report an unforeseen reaction discovered during the investigation of the interaction of IspH with acetylene inhibitors by X-ray crystallography, Mößbauer, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. In addition to its role as a 2H+/2e− reductase, IspH can hydrate acetylenes to aldehydes and ketones via anti-Markovnikov/Markovnikov addition. The reactions only occur with the oxidised protein and proceed via η1-O-enolate intermediates. One of these is characterized crystallographically and contains a C4 ligand oxygen bound to the unique, fourth iron in the 4Fe-4S cluster: this intermediate subsequently hydrolyzes to produce an aldehyde product. This unexpected side to IspH reactivity is of interest in the context of the mechanism of action of other acetylene hydratases, as well as in the design of antiinfectives targeting IspH.
doi:10.1038/ncomms2052
PMCID: PMC3745992  PMID: 22948824
4.  Software LS-MIDA for efficient mass isotopomer distribution analysis in metabolic modelling 
BMC Bioinformatics  2013;14:218.
Background
The knowledge of metabolic pathways and fluxes is important to understand the adaptation of organisms to their biotic and abiotic environment. The specific distribution of stable isotope labelled precursors into metabolic products can be taken as fingerprints of the metabolic events and dynamics through the metabolic networks. An open-source software is required that easily and rapidly calculates from mass spectra of labelled metabolites, derivatives and their fragments global isotope excess and isotopomer distribution.
Results
The open-source software “Least Square Mass Isotopomer Analyzer” (LS-MIDA) is presented that processes experimental mass spectrometry (MS) data on the basis of metabolite information such as the number of atoms in the compound, mass to charge ratio (m/e or m/z) values of the compounds and fragments under study, and the experimental relative MS intensities reflecting the enrichments of isotopomers in 13C- or 15 N-labelled compounds, in comparison to the natural abundances in the unlabelled molecules. The software uses Brauman’s least square method of linear regression. As a result, global isotope enrichments of the metabolite or fragment under study and the molar abundances of each isotopomer are obtained and displayed.
Conclusions
The new software provides an open-source platform that easily and rapidly converts experimental MS patterns of labelled metabolites into isotopomer enrichments that are the basis for subsequent observation-driven analysis of pathways and fluxes, as well as for model-driven metabolic flux calculations.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-14-218
PMCID: PMC3720290  PMID: 23837681
5.  Chloroplast-localized 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase is critical for maize endosperm starch accumulation 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(8):2231-2242.
Plants have duplicate versions of the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (oxPPP) enzymes with a subset localized to the chloroplast. The chloroplast oxPPP provides NADPH and pentose sugars for multiple metabolic pathways. This study identified two loss-of-function alleles of the Zea mays (maize) chloroplast-localized oxPPP enzyme 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (6PGDH). These mutations caused a rough endosperm seed phenotype with reduced embryo oil and endosperm starch. Genetic translocation experiments showed that pgd3 has separate, essential roles in both endosperm and embryo development. Endosperm metabolite profiling experiments indicated that pgd3 shifts redox-related metabolites and increases reducing sugars similar to starch-biosynthetis mutants. Heavy isotope-labelling experiments indicates that carbon flux into starch is altered in pgd3 mutants. Labelling experiments with a loss of cytosolic 6PGDH did not affect flux into starch. These results support the known role for plastid-localized oxPPP in oil synthesis and argue that amyloplast-localized oxPPP reactions are integral to endosperm starch accumulation in maize kernels.
doi:10.1093/jxb/ert082
PMCID: PMC3654415  PMID: 23530131
Defective kernel; endosperm; maize; pentose phosphate pathway; PGD3; starch.
6.  Metabolic host responses to infection by intracellular bacterial pathogens 
The interaction of bacterial pathogens with mammalian hosts leads to a variety of physiological responses of the interacting partners aimed at an adaptation to the new situation. These responses include multiple metabolic changes in the affected host cells which are most obvious when the pathogen replicates within host cells as in case of intracellular bacterial pathogens. While the pathogen tries to deprive nutrients from the host cell, the host cell in return takes various metabolic countermeasures against the nutrient theft. During this conflicting interaction, the pathogen triggers metabolic host cell responses by means of common cell envelope components and specific virulence-associated factors. These host reactions generally promote replication of the pathogen. There is growing evidence that pathogen-specific factors may interfere in different ways with the complex regulatory network that controls the carbon and nitrogen metabolism of mammalian cells. The host cell defense answers include general metabolic reactions, like the generation of oxygen- and/or nitrogen-reactive species, and more specific measures aimed to prevent access to essential nutrients for the respective pathogen. Accurate results on metabolic host cell responses are often hampered by the use of cancer cell lines that already exhibit various de-regulated reactions in the primary carbon metabolism. Hence, there is an urgent need for cellular models that more closely reflect the in vivo infection conditions. The exact knowledge of the metabolic host cell responses may provide new interesting concepts for antibacterial therapies.
doi:10.3389/fcimb.2013.00024
PMCID: PMC3705551  PMID: 23847769
metabolism of mammalian cells; regulation of metabolic pathways; cancer cells; intracellular bacteria; common (“core”) and specific metabolic host responses; virulence-associated factors; antibacterial therapy
7.  Metabolic Responses of Primary and Transformed Cells to Intracellular Listeria monocytogenes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52378.
The metabolic response of host cells, in particular of primary mammalian cells, to bacterial infections is poorly understood. Here, we compare the carbon metabolism of primary mouse macrophages and of established J774A.1 cells upon Listeria monocytogenes infection using 13C-labelled glucose or glutamine as carbon tracers. The 13C-profiles of protein-derived amino acids from labelled host cells and intracellular L. monocytogenes identified active metabolic pathways in the different cell types. In the primary cells, infection with live L. monocytogenes increased glycolytic activity and enhanced flux of pyruvate into the TCA cycle via pyruvate dehydrogenase and pyruvate carboxylase, while in J774A.1 cells the already high glycolytic and glutaminolytic activities hardly changed upon infection. The carbon metabolism of intracellular L. monocytogenes was similar in both host cells. Taken together, the data suggest that efficient listerial replication in the cytosol of the host cells mainly depends on the glycolytic activity of the hosts.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052378
PMCID: PMC3528701  PMID: 23285016
8.  Toward a Systemic Understanding of Listeria monocytogenes Metabolism during Infection 
Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne human pathogen that can cause invasive infection in susceptible animals and humans. For proliferation within hosts, this facultative intracellular pathogen uses a reservoir of specific metabolic pathways, transporter, and enzymatic functions whose expression requires the coordinated activity of a complex regulatory network. The highly adapted metabolism of L. monocytogenes strongly depends on the nutrient composition of various milieus encountered during infection. Transcriptomic and proteomic studies revealed the spatial–temporal dynamic of gene expression of this pathogen during replication within cultured cells or in vivo. Metabolic clues are the utilization of unusual C2- and C3-bodies, the metabolism of pyruvate, thiamine availability, the uptake of peptides, the acquisition or biosynthesis of certain amino acids, and the degradation of glucose-phosphate via the pentose phosphate pathway. These examples illustrate the interference of in vivo conditions with energy, carbon, and nitrogen metabolism, thus affecting listerial growth. The exploitation, analysis, and modeling of the available data sets served as a first attempt to a systemic understanding of listerial metabolism during infection. L. monocytogenes might serve as a model organism for systems biology of a Gram-positive, facultative intracellular bacterium.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2012.00023
PMCID: PMC3271275  PMID: 22347216
Listeria monocytogenes; infection; metabolism; systems biology; modeling; intracellular
9.  Labeling and Enzyme Studies of the Central Carbon Metabolism in Metallosphaera sedula ▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;193(5):1191-1200.
Metallosphaera sedula (Sulfolobales, Crenarchaeota) uses the 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate cycle for autotrophic carbon fixation. In this pathway, acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) and succinyl-CoA are the only intermediates that can be considered common to the central carbon metabolism. We addressed the question of which intermediate of the cycle most biosynthetic routes branch off. We labeled autotrophically growing cells by using 4-hydroxy[1-14C]butyrate and [1,4-13C1]succinate, respectively, as precursors for biosynthesis. The labeling patterns of protein-derived amino acids verified the operation of the proposed carbon fixation cycle, in which 4-hydroxybutyrate is converted to two molecules of acetyl-CoA. The results also showed that major biosynthetic flux does not occur via acetyl-CoA, except for the formation of building blocks that are directly derived from acetyl-CoA. Notably, acetyl-CoA is not assimilated via reductive carboxylation to pyruvate. Rather, our data suggest that the majority of anabolic precursors are derived from succinyl-CoA, which is removed from the cycle via oxidation to malate and oxaloacetate. These C4 intermediates yield pyruvate and phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP). Enzyme activities that are required for forming intermediates from succinyl-CoA were detected, including enzymes catalyzing gluconeogenesis from PEP. This study completes the picture of the central carbon metabolism in autotrophic Sulfolobales by connecting the autotrophic carbon fixation cycle to the formation of central carbon precursor metabolites.
doi:10.1128/JB.01155-10
PMCID: PMC3067578  PMID: 21169486
10.  Mechanistic insights on riboflavin synthase inspired by selective binding of the 6,7-dimethyl-8-ribityllumazine exomethylene anion 
Riboflavin synthase catalyzes the transfer of a 4-carbon fragment between two molecules of the substrate, 6,7-dimethyl-8-ribityllumazine, resulting in the formation of riboflavin and 5-amino-6-ribitylamino-2,4(1H,3H)-pyrimidinedione. Earlier, a pentacyclic adduct formed from two substrate molecules was shown to be a catalytically competent intermediate, but the mechanism of its formation is still poorly understood. The present study shows that the recombinant N-terminal domain of riboflavin synthase from Escherichia coli interacts specifically with the exomethylene-type anion of 6,7-dimethyl-8-ribityllumazine but not with any of the tricyclic adduct-type anions that dominate the complex anion equilibrium in aqueous solution. Whereas these findings can be implemented into previously published mechanistic hypotheses, we also present a novel, hypothetical reaction sequence that starts with the transfer of a hydride ion from the 6,7-dimethyl-8-ribityllumazine exomethylene anion to an electroneutral 6,7-dimethyl-8-ribityllumazine molecule. The pair of dehydrolumazine and dihydrolumazine molecules resulting from this hydride transfer is proposed to undergo a 4+2 cycloaddition affording the experimentally documented pentacyclic intermediate. In contrast to earlier mechanistic concepts requiring the participation of a nucleophilic agent, which is not supported by structural and mutagenesis data, the novel concept has no such requirement. Moreover, it requires fewer reaction steps and is consistent with all experimental data.
doi:10.1021/ja908395r
PMCID: PMC2832097  PMID: 20143812
Riboflavin synthase; biosynthesis of riboflavin; reaction mechanism; hydride transfer; cycloaddition
11.  Pyruvate Carboxylase Plays a Crucial Role in Carbon Metabolism of Extra- and Intracellularly Replicating Listeria monocytogenes▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(7):1774-1784.
The human pathogen L. monocytogenes is a facultatively intracellular bacterium that survives and replicates in the cytosol of many mammalian cells. The listerial metabolism, especially under intracellular conditions, is still poorly understood. Recent studies analyzed the carbon metabolism of L. monocytogenes by the 13C isotopologue perturbation method in a defined minimal medium containing [U-13C6]glucose. It was shown that these bacteria produce oxaloacetate mainly by carboxylation of pyruvate due to an incomplete tricarboxylic acid cycle. Here, we report that a pycA insertion mutant defective in pyruvate carboxylase (PYC) still grows, albeit at a reduced rate, in brain heart infusion (BHI) medium but is unable to multiply in a defined minimal medium with glucose or glycerol as a carbon source. Aspartate and glutamate of the pycA mutant, in contrast to the wild-type strain, remain unlabeled when [U-13C6]glucose is added to BHI, indicating that the PYC-catalyzed carboxylation of pyruvate is the predominant reaction leading to oxaloacetate in L. monocytogenes. The pycA mutant is also unable to replicate in mammalian cells and exhibits high virulence attenuation in the mouse sepsis model.
doi:10.1128/JB.01132-09
PMCID: PMC2838035  PMID: 20097852
12.  Carbon Metabolism of Enterobacterial Human Pathogens Growing in Epithelial Colorectal Adenocarcinoma (Caco-2) Cells 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(5):e10586.
Analysis of the genome sequences of the major human bacterial pathogens has provided a large amount of information concerning their metabolic potential. However, our knowledge of the actual metabolic pathways and metabolite fluxes occurring in these pathogens under infection conditions is still limited. In this study, we analysed the intracellular carbon metabolism of enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC HN280 and EIEC 4608-58) and Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium (Stm 14028) replicating in epithelial colorectal adenocarcinoma cells (Caco-2). To this aim, we supplied [U-13C6]glucose to Caco-2 cells infected with the bacterial strains or mutants thereof impaired in the uptake of glucose, mannose and/or glucose 6-phosphate. The 13C-isotopologue patterns of protein-derived amino acids from the bacteria and the host cells were then determined by mass spectrometry. The data showed that EIEC HN280 growing in the cytosol of the host cells, as well as Stm 14028 replicating in the Salmonella-containing vacuole (SCV) utilised glucose, but not glucose 6-phosphate, other phosphorylated carbohydrates, gluconate or fatty acids as major carbon substrates. EIEC 4608-58 used C3-compound(s) in addition to glucose as carbon source. The labelling patterns reflected strain-dependent carbon flux via glycolysis and/or the Entner-Doudoroff pathway, the pentose phosphate pathway, the TCA cycle and anapleurotic reactions between PEP and oxaloacetate. Mutants of all three strains impaired in the uptake of glucose switched to C3-substrate(s) accompanied by an increased uptake of amino acids (and possibly also other anabolic monomers) from the host cell. Surprisingly, the metabolism of the host cells, as judged by the efficiency of 13C-incorporation into host cell amino acids, was not significantly affected by the infection with either of these intracellular pathogens.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010586
PMCID: PMC2868055  PMID: 20485672
13.  Characterization of rubber particles and rubber chain elongation in Taraxacum koksaghyz 
BMC Biochemistry  2010;11:11.
Background
Natural rubber is a biopolymer with exceptional qualities that cannot be completely replaced using synthetic alternatives. Although several key enzymes in the rubber biosynthetic pathway have been isolated, mainly from plants such as Hevea brasiliensis, Ficus spec. and the desert shrub Parthenium argentatum, there have been no in planta functional studies, e.g. by RNA interference, due to the absence of efficient and reproducible protocols for genetic engineering. In contrast, the Russian dandelion Taraxacum koksaghyz, which has long been considered as a potential alternative source of low-cost natural rubber, has a rapid life cycle and can be genetically transformed using a simple and reliable procedure. However, there is very little molecular data available for either the rubber polymer itself or its biosynthesis in T. koksaghyz.
Results
We established a method for the purification of rubber particles - the active sites of rubber biosynthesis - from T. koksaghyz latex. Photon correlation spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy revealed an average particle size of 320 nm, and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy confirmed that isolated rubber particles contain poly(cis-1,4-isoprene) with a purity >95%. Size exclusion chromatography indicated that the weight average molecular mass (w) of T. koksaghyz natural rubber is 4,000-5,000 kDa. Rubber particles showed rubber transferase activity of 0.2 pmol min-1 mg-1. Ex vivo rubber biosynthesis experiments resulted in a skewed unimodal distribution of [1-14C]isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP) incorporation at a w of 2,500 kDa. Characterization of recently isolated cis-prenyltransferases (CPTs) from T. koksaghyz revealed that these enzymes are associated with rubber particles and are able to produce long-chain polyprenols in yeast.
Conclusions
T. koksaghyz rubber particles are similar to those described for H. brasiliensis. They contain very pure, high molecular mass poly(cis-1,4-isoprene) and the chain elongation process can be studied ex vivo. Because of their localization on rubber particles and their activity in yeast, we propose that the recently described T. koksaghyz CPTs are the major rubber chain elongating enzymes in this species. T. koksaghyz is amenable to genetic analysis and modification, and therefore could be used as a model species for the investigation and comparison of rubber biosynthesis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2091-11-11
PMCID: PMC2836272  PMID: 20170509
14.  How the Intestinal Peptide Transporter PEPT-1 Contributes to an Obesity Phenotype in Caenorhabditits elegans 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(7):e6279.
Background
Amino acid absorption in the form of di- and tripeptides is mediated by the intestinal proton-coupled peptide transporter PEPT-1 (formally OPT-2) in Caenorhabditits elegans. Transporter-deficient animals (pept-1(lg601)) show impaired growth, slowed postembryonal development and major changes in amino acid status.
Principal Findings
Here we demonstrate that abolished intestinal peptide transport also leads to major metabolic alterations that culminate in a two fold increase in total body fat content. Feeding of C. elegans with [U-13C]-labelled E. coli revealed a decreased de novo synthesis of long-chain fatty acids in pept-1(lg601) and reduced levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids. mRNA profiling revealed increased transcript levels of enzymes/transporters needed for peroxisomal β-oxidation and decreased levels for those required for fatty acid synthesis, elongation and desaturation. As a prime and most fundamental process that may account for the increased fat content in pept-1(lg601) we identified a highly accelerated absorption of free fatty acids from the bacterial food in the intestine.
Conclusions
The influx of free fatty acids into intestinal epithelial cells is strongly dependent on alterations in intracellular pH which is regulated by the interplay of PEPT-1 and the sodium-proton exchanger NHX-2. We here provide evidence for a central mechanism by which the PEPT-1/NHX-2 system strongly influences the in vivo fat content of C. elegans. Loss of PEPT-1 decreases intestinal proton influx leading to a higher uptake of free fatty acids with fat accumulation whereas loss of NHX-2 causes intracellular acidification by the PEPT-1 mediated proton/dipeptide symport with an almost abolished uptake of fatty acids and a lean phenotype.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006279
PMCID: PMC2708923  PMID: 19621081
15.  Characterization of Aquifex aeolicus 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol kinase – ligand recognition in a template for antimicrobial drug discovery 
The Febs Journal  2008;275(11):2779-2794.
4-Diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol kinase (IspE) catalyses the ATP-dependent conversion of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol (CDPME) to 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol 2-phosphate with the release of ADP. This reaction occurs in the non-mevalonate pathway of isoprenoid precursor biosynthesis and because it is essential in important microbial pathogens and absent from mammals it represents a potential target for anti-infective drugs. We set out to characterize the biochemical properties, determinants of molecular recognition and reactivity of IspE and report the cloning and purification of recombinant Aquifex aeolicus IspE (AaIspE), kinetic data, metal ion, temperature and pH dependence, crystallization and structure determination of the enzyme in complex with CDP, CDPME and ADP. In addition, 4-fluoro-3,5-dihydroxy-4-methylpent-1-enylphosphonic acid (compound 1) was designed to mimic a fragment of the substrate, a synthetic route to 1 was elucidated and the complex structure determined. Surprisingly, this ligand occupies the binding site for the ATP α-phosphate not the binding site for the methyl-d-erythritol moiety of CDPME. Gel filtration and analytical ultracentrifugation indicate that AaIspE is a monomer in solution. The enzyme displays the characteristic α/β galacto-homoserine-mevalonate-phosphomevalonate kinase fold, with the catalytic centre positioned in a deep cleft between the ATP- and CDPME-binding domains. Comparisons indicate a high degree of sequence conservation on the IspE active site across bacterial species, similarities in structure, specificity of substrate recognition and mechanism. The biochemical characterization, attainment of well-ordered and reproducible crystals and the models resulting from the analyses provide reagents and templates to support the structure-based design of broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents.
doi:10.1111/j.1742-4658.2008.06418.x
PMCID: PMC2655357  PMID: 18422643
enzyme–ligand complex; GHMP kinase; isoprenoid biosynthesis; molecular recognition; non-mevalonate pathway
16.  Nanoarchaeum equitans and Ignicoccus hospitalis: New Insights into a Unique, Intimate Association of Two Archaea▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;190(5):1743-1750.
Nanoarchaeum equitans and Ignicoccus hospitalis represent a unique, intimate association of two archaea. Both form a stable coculture which is mandatory for N. equitans but not for the host I. hospitalis. Here, we investigated interactions and mutual influence between these microorganisms. Fermentation studies revealed that during exponential growth only about 25% of I. hospitalis cells are occupied by N. equitans cells (one to three cells). The latter strongly proliferate in the stationary phase of I. hospitalis, until 80 to 90% of the I. hospitalis cells carry around 10 N. equitans cells. Furthermore, the expulsion of H2S, the major metabolic end product of I. hospitalis, by strong gas stripping yields huge amounts of free N. equitans cells. N. equitans had no influence on the doubling times, final cell concentrations, and growth temperature, pH, or salt concentration ranges or optima of I. hospitalis. However, isolation studies using optical tweezers revealed that infection with N. equitans inhibited the proliferation of individual I. hospitalis cells. This inhibition might be caused by deprivation of the host of cell components like amino acids, as demonstrated by 13C-labeling studies. The strong dependence of N. equitans on I. hospitalis was affirmed by live-dead staining and electron microscopic analyses, which indicated a tight physiological and structural connection between the two microorganisms. No alternative hosts, including other Ignicoccus species, were accepted by N. equitans. In summary, the data show a highly specialized association of N. equitans and I. hospitalis which so far cannot be assigned to a classical symbiosis, commensalism, or parasitism.
doi:10.1128/JB.01731-07
PMCID: PMC2258681  PMID: 18165302
17.  Insights into the Autotrophic CO2 Fixation Pathway of the Archaeon Ignicoccus hospitalis: Comprehensive Analysis of the Central Carbon Metabolism▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(11):4108-4119.
Ignicoccus hospitalis is an autotrophic hyperthermophilic archaeon that serves as a host for another parasitic/symbiotic archaeon, Nanoarchaeum equitans. In this study, the biosynthetic pathways of I. hospitalis were investigated by in vitro enzymatic analyses, in vivo 13C-labeling experiments, and genomic analyses. Our results suggest the operation of a so far unknown pathway of autotrophic CO2 fixation that starts from acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA). The cyclic regeneration of acetyl-CoA, the primary CO2 acceptor molecule, has not been clarified yet. In essence, acetyl-CoA is converted into pyruvate via reductive carboxylation by pyruvate-ferredoxin oxidoreductase. Pyruvate-water dikinase converts pyruvate into phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP), which is carboxylated to oxaloacetate by PEP carboxylase. An incomplete citric acid cycle is operating: citrate is synthesized from oxaloacetate and acetyl-CoA by a (re)-specific citrate synthase, whereas a 2-oxoglutarate-oxidizing enzyme is lacking. Further investigations revealed that several special biosynthetic pathways that have recently been described for various archaea are operating. Isoleucine is synthesized via the uncommon citramalate pathway and lysine via the α-aminoadipate pathway. Gluconeogenesis is achieved via a reverse Embden-Meyerhof pathway using a novel type of fructose 1,6-bisphosphate aldolase. Pentosephosphates are formed from hexosephosphates via the suggested ribulose-monophosphate pathway, whereby formaldehyde is released from C-1 of hexose. The organism may not contain any sugar-metabolizing pathway. This comprehensive analysis of the central carbon metabolism of I. hospitalis revealed further evidence for the unexpected and unexplored diversity of metabolic pathways within the (hyperthermophilic) archaea.
doi:10.1128/JB.00047-07
PMCID: PMC1913412  PMID: 17400748
18.  Aerobic Benzoyl-Coenzyme A (CoA) Catabolic Pathway in Azoarcus evansii: Conversion of Ring Cleavage Product by 3,4-Dehydroadipyl-CoA Semialdehyde Dehydrogenase 
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(8):2919-2927.
Benzoate, a strategic intermediate in aerobic aromatic metabolism, is metabolized in various bacteria via an unorthodox pathway. The intermediates of this pathway are coenzyme A (CoA) thioesters throughout, and ring cleavage is nonoxygenolytic. The fate of the ring cleavage product 3,4-dehydroadipyl-CoA semialdehyde was studied in the β-proteobacterium Azoarcus evansii. Cell extracts contained a benzoate-induced, NADP+-specific aldehyde dehydrogenase, which oxidized this intermediate. A postulated putative long-chain aldehyde dehydrogenase gene, which might encode this new enzyme, is located on a cluster of genes encoding enzymes and a transport system required for aerobic benzoate oxidation. The gene was expressed in Escherichia coli, and the maltose-binding protein-tagged enzyme was purified and studied. It is a homodimer composed of 54 kDa (without tag) subunits and was confirmed to be the desired 3,4-dehydroadipyl-CoA semialdehyde dehydrogenase. The reaction product was identified by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy as the corresponding acid 3,4-dehydroadipyl-CoA. Hence, the intermediates of aerobic benzoyl-CoA catabolic pathway recognized so far are benzoyl-CoA; 2,3-dihydro-2,3-dihydroxybenzoyl-CoA; 3,4-dehydroadipyl-CoA semialdehyde plus formate; and 3,4-dehydroadipyl-CoA. The further metabolism is thought to lead to 3-oxoadipyl-CoA, the intermediate at which the conventional and the unorthodox pathways merge.
doi:10.1128/JB.188.8.2919-2927.2006
PMCID: PMC1446997  PMID: 16585753
19.  Studies of the intermediary metabolism in cultured cells of the insect Spodoptera frugiperda using 13C- or 15N-labelled tracers 
BMC Biochemistry  2005;6:24.
Background
Insect cells can serve as host systems for the recombinant expression of eukaryotic proteins. Using this platform, the controlled expression of 15N/13C labelled proteins requires the analysis of incorporation paths and rates of isotope-labelled precursors present in the medium into amino acids. For this purpose, Spodoptera frugiperda cells were grown in a complex medium containing [U-13C6]glucose. In a second experiment, cultures of S. frugiperda were grown in the presence of 15N-phenylalanine.
Results
Quantitative NMR analysis showed incorporation of the proffered [U-13C6]glucose into the ribose moiety of ribonucleosides (40 – 45%) and into the amino acids, alanine (41%), glutamic acid/glutamine (C-4 and C-5, 30%) and aspartate/asparagine (15%). Other amino acids and the purine ring of nucleosides were not formed from exogenous glucose in significant amounts (> 5%). Prior to the incorporation into protein the proffered 15N-phenylalanine lost about 70% of its label by transamination and the labelled compound was not converted into tyrosine to a significant extent.
Conclusion
Growth of S. frugiperda cells in the presence of [U-13C6]glucose is conducive to the fractional labelling of ribonucleosides, alanine, glutamic acid/glutamine and aspartic acid/asparagine. The isotopolog compositions of the ribonucleosides and of alanine indicate considerable recycling of carbohydrate intermediates in the reductive branch of the pentose phosphate pathway. The incorporation of 15N-labelled amino acids may be hampered by loss of the 15N-label by transamination.
doi:10.1186/1471-2091-6-24
PMCID: PMC1310531  PMID: 16285881
20.  Riboflavin synthase of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Protein dynamics revealed by 19F NMR protein perturbation experiments 
BMC Biochemistry  2003;4:18.
Background
Riboflavin synthase catalyzes the transformation of 6,7-dimethyl-8-ribityllumazine into riboflavin in the last step of the riboflavin biosynthetic pathway. Gram-negative bacteria and certain yeasts are unable to incorporate riboflavin from the environment and are therefore absolutely dependent on endogenous synthesis of the vitamin. Riboflavin synthase is therefore a potential target for the development of antiinfective drugs.
Results
A cDNA sequence from Schizosaccharomyces pombe comprising a hypothetical open reading frame with similarity to riboflavin synthase of Escherichia coli was expressed in a recombinant E. coli strain. The recombinant protein is a homotrimer of 23 kDa subunits as shown by sedimentation equilibrium centrifugation. The protein sediments at an apparent velocity of 4.1 S at 20°C. The amino acid sequence is characterized by internal sequence similarity indicating two similar folding domains per subunit. The enzyme catalyzes the formation of riboflavin from 6,7-dimethyl-8-ribityllumazine at a rate of 158 nmol mg-1 min-1 with an apparent KM of 5.7 microM. 19F NMR protein perturbation experiments using fluorine-substituted intermediate analogs show multiple signals indicating that a given ligand can be bound in at least 4 different states. 19F NMR signals of enzyme-bound intermediate analogs were assigned to ligands bound by the N-terminal respectively C-terminal folding domain on basis of NMR studies with mutant proteins.
Conclusion
Riboflavin synthase of Schizosaccharomyces pombe is a trimer of identical 23-kDa subunits. The primary structure is characterized by considerable similarity of the C-terminal and N-terminal parts. Riboflavin synthase catalyzes a mechanistically complex dismutation of 6,7-dimethyl-8-ribityllumazine affording riboflavin and 5-amino-6-ribitylamino-2,4(1H,3H)-pyrimidinedione. The 19F NMR data suggest large scale dynamic mobility in the trimeric protein which may play an important role in the reaction mechanism.
doi:10.1186/1471-2091-4-18
PMCID: PMC337094  PMID: 14690539
21.  Autotrophic CO2 Fixation by Chloroflexus aurantiacus: Study of Glyoxylate Formation and Assimilation via the 3-Hydroxypropionate Cycle 
Journal of Bacteriology  2001;183(14):4305-4316.
In the facultative autotrophic organism Chloroflexus aurantiacus, a phototrophic green nonsulfur bacterium, the Calvin cycle does not appear to be operative in autotrophic carbon assimilation. An alternative cyclic pathway, the 3-hydroxypropionate cycle, has been proposed. In this pathway, acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) is assumed to be converted to malate, and two CO2 molecules are thereby fixed. Malyl-CoA is supposed to be cleaved to acetyl-CoA, the starting molecule, and glyoxylate, the carbon fixation product. Malyl-CoA cleavage is shown here to be catalyzed by malyl-CoA lyase; this enzyme activity is induced severalfold in autotrophically grown cells. Malate is converted to malyl-CoA via an inducible CoA transferase with succinyl-CoA as a CoA donor. Some enzyme activities involved in the conversion of malonyl-CoA via 3-hydroxypropionate to propionyl-CoA are also induced under autotrophic growth conditions. So far, no clue as to the first step in glyoxylate assimilation has been obtained. One possibility for the assimilation of glyoxylate involves the conversion of glyoxylate to glycine and the subsequent assimilation of glycine. However, such a pathway does not occur, as shown by labeling of whole cells with [1,2-13C2]glycine. Glycine carbon was incorporated only into glycine, serine, and compounds that contained C1 units derived therefrom and not into other cell compounds.
doi:10.1128/JB.183.14.4305-4316.2001
PMCID: PMC95321  PMID: 11418572

Results 1-21 (21)