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1.  Acetyl-coenzyme A synthesis from methyltetrahydrofolate, CO, and coenzyme A by enzymes purified from Clostridium thermoaceticum: attainment of in vivo rates and identification of rate-limiting steps. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1992;174(14):4667-4676.
Many anaerobic bacteria fix CO2 via the acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) (Wood) pathway. Carbon monoxide dehydrogenase (CODH), a corrinoid/iron-sulfur protein (C/Fe-SP), methyltransferase (MeTr), and an electron transfer protein such as ferredoxin II play pivotal roles in the conversion of methyltetrahydrofolate (CH3-H4folate), CO, and CoA to acetyl-CoA. In the study reported here, our goals were (i) to optimize the method for determining the activity of the synthesis of acetyl-CoA, (ii) to evaluate how closely the rate of synthesis of acetyl-CoA by purified enzymes approaches the rate at which whole cells synthesize acetate, and (iii) to determine which steps limit the rate of acetyl-CoA synthesis. In this study, CODH, MeTr, C/Fe-SP, and ferredoxin were purified from Clostridium thermoaceticum to apparent homogeneity. We optimized conditions for studying the synthesis of acetyl-CoA and found that when the reaction is dependent upon MeTr, the rate is 5.3 mumol min-1 mg-1 of MeTr. This rate is approximately 10-fold higher than that reported previously and is as fast as that predicted on the basis of the rate of in vivo acetate synthesis. When the reaction is dependent upon CODH, the rate of acetyl-CoA synthesis is approximately 0.82 mumol min-1 mg-1, approximately 10-fold higher than that observed previously; however, it is still lower than the rate of in vivo acetate synthesis. It appears that at least two steps in the overall synthesis of acetyl-CoA from CH3-H4folate, CO, and CoA can be partially rate limiting. At optimal conditions of low pH (approximately 5.8) and low ionic strength, the rate-limiting step involves methylation of CODH by the methylated C/Fe-SP. At higher pH values and/or higher ionic strength, transfer of the methyl group of CH3-H4folate to the C/Fe-SP becomes rate limiting.
PMCID: PMC206262  PMID: 1624454
2.  Constitutive and UV-mediated activation of RecA protein: combined effects of recA441 and recF143 mutations and of addition of nucleosides and adenine. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1991;173(18):5869-5875.
The recF143 mutant of Escherichia coli is deficient in certain functions that also require the RecA protein: cell survival after DNA damage, some pathways of genetic recombination, and induction of SOS genes and temperate bacteriophage through cleavage of the LexA and phage repressors. To characterize the role of RecF in SOS induction and RecA activation, we determined the effects of the recF143 mutation on the rate of RecA-promoted cleavage of LexA, the repressor of the SOS genes. We show that RecA activation following UV irradiation is delayed by recF143 and that RecF is specifically involved in the SOS induction pathway that requires DNA replication. At 32 degrees C, the recA441 mutation partially suppresses the defect of recF mutants in inducing the SOS system in response to UV irradiation (A. Thomas and R. G. Lloyd, J. Gen. Microbiol. 129:681-686, 1983; M. R. Volkert, L. J. Margossian, and A. J. Clark, J. Bacteriol. 160:702-705, 1984); we find that this suppression occurs at the earliest detectable phase of LexA cleavage and does not require protein synthesis. Our results support the idea that following UV irradiation, RecF enhances the activation of RecA into a form that promotes LexA cleavage (A. Thomas and R. G. Lloyd, J. Gen. Microbiol. 129:681-686, 1983; M. V. V. S. Madiraju, A. Templin, and A. J. Clark, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 85:6592-6596, 1988). In contrast to the constitutive activation phenotype of the recA441 mutant, the recA441-mediated suppression of recF is not affected by adenine and nucleosides. We also find that wild-type RecA protein is somewhat activated by adenine in the absence of DNA damage.
PMCID: PMC208321  PMID: 1715863
3.  Characterization of the late-gene regulatory region of phage 21. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1991;173(4):1554-1560.
A segment of Escherichia coli bacteriophage 21 DNA encoding the late-gene regulator, Q21, and the late-gene leader RNA segment was sequenced; its structure is similar to those of the related phages lambda and 82. The leader RNA is about 45 nucleotides long and consists essentially entirely of sequences encoding the p-independent terminator that is the putative target of the antitermination activity of Q21. Like the corresponding regions of lambda and 82, the 21 late-gene promoter segment encodes an early transcription pause in vitro, at about nucleotide 18, during which Q21 presumably acts to modify RNA polymerase. The 21 Q gene, cloned in isolation, is active on the late-gene leader segment in trans, and its purified product is active as an antiterminator in vitro; Q21 represents a third late-gene antiterminator, in addition to those of lambda and 82. There is little evident similarity in the primary sequences of the three Q genes.
PMCID: PMC207295  PMID: 1704887
4.  Efficiency factors and ATP/ADP ratios in nitrogen-fixing Bacillus polymyxa and Bacillus azotofixans. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1990;172(4):1962-1968.
The efficiency factor, the number of moles of ATP generated per mole of glucose fermented, was determined in anaerobic, non-carbon-limited N2-fixing cultures of Bacillus polymyxa, Bacillus macerans, Bacillus azotofixans, and Clostridium butyricum through identification and quantitation of the fermentation products by 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and measurement of acetate kinase activities. All three Bacillus species had acetate kinase activities and produced acetate and ethanol as the major fermentation products. The maximum amounts of ATP generated per mole of glucose fermented were 2.70, 2.64, and 2.88 mol in B. polymyxa, B. macerans, and B. azotofixans, respectively, compared with 3.25 mol in C. butyricum. Thus, in the N2-fixing Bacillus species, the efficiency factors are lower than that in C. butyricum. Steady-state ATP/ADP concentration ratios were measured in non-carbon-limited N2-fixing cultures of B. polymyxa and B. azotofixans through separation and quantitation of the adenylates in cell extracts by ion-pair reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. The observed ATP/ADP ratios were 4.5 and 3.8, and estimated energy charges were 0.81 to 0.86 and 0.81 to 0.83, respectively, for B. polymyxa and B. azotofixans. The results suggest that under these growth conditions, the rate of ATP regeneration is adequate to meet the energy requirement for N2 fixation in the Bacillus species, in contrast to N2-fixing Clostridium pasteurianum and Klebsiella pneumoniae, for which substantially lower steady-state ATP/ADP ratios and energy charges have been reported. Implications of the results are discussed in relation to possible differences between Bacillus and Clostridium species in energy requirements for N2 fixation and concomitant ammonia assimilation.
PMCID: PMC208692  PMID: 2318806
5.  Ammonia assimilation pathways in nitrogen-fixing Clostridium kluyverii and Clostridium butyricum. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1989;171(4):2148-2154.
Pathways of ammonia assimilation into glutamic acid were investigated in ammonia-grown and N2-fixing Clostridium kluyverii and Clostridium butyricum by measuring the specific activities of glutamate dehydrogenase, glutamine synthetase, and glutamate synthase. C. kluyverii had NADPH-glutamate dehydrogenase with a Km of 12.0 mM for NH4+. The glutamate dehydrogenase pathway played an important role in ammonia assimilation in ammonia-grown cells but was found to play a minor role relative to that of the glutamine synthetase/NADPH-glutamate synthase pathway in nitrogen-fixing cells when the intracellular NH4+ concentration and the low affinity of the enzyme for NH4+ were taken into account. In C. butyricum grown on glucose-salt medium with ammonia or N2 as the nitrogen source, glutamate dehydrogenase activity was undetectable, and the glutamine synthetase/NADH-glutamate synthase pathway was the predominant pathway of ammonia assimilation. Under these growth conditions, C. butyricum also lacked the activity of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, which catalyzes the regeneration of NADPH from NADP+. However, high activities of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase as well as of NADPH-glutamate dehydrogenase with a Km of 2.8 mM for NH4+ were present in C. butyricum after growth on complex nitrogen and carbon sources. The ammonia-assimilating pathway of N2-fixing C. butyricum, which differs from that of the previously studied Bacillus polymyxa and Bacillus macerans, is discussed in relation to possible effects of the availability of ATP and of NADPH on ammonia-assimilating pathways.
PMCID: PMC209870  PMID: 2564848
6.  Activation of protease-constitutive recA proteins of Escherichia coli by all of the common nucleoside triphosphates. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1988;170(10):4816-4822.
To understand why the RecA proteins of the protease-constitutive recA1202 and recA1211 mutants show very high protease activities in vivo without the usual need for DNA damage (E. S. Tessman and P. Peterson, J. Bacteriol. 163:677-687, 1985), we examined the activation of the mutant proteins by nucleoside triphosphates (NTPs) in vitro. In vivo, the mutant protease activities are resistant to inhibition by cytidine plus guanosine (C + G) in the growth medium, in contrast to the activities of weaker mutants, such as recA441, which are sensitive to C + G inhibition. We found that RecA1202 and RecA1211 proteins, in contrast to RecA+, can use natural NTPs other than ATP and dATP as cofactors in the cleavage of LexA repressor. The effectiveness of NTPs in promoting LexA cleavage by RecA1202 and RecA1211 proteins decreased in roughly the following order: dATP greater than ATP greater than UTP greater than ATP-gamma S greater than dCTP greater than CTP greater than dGTP greater than GTP greater than TTP. These mutant proteins showed higher affinities for ATP and single-stranded DNA and higher repressor cleavage activities than RecA+ protein. With the various effectors (single-stranded DNA or NTPs), the RecA1202 protein always showed more activity than RecA1211 in the cleavage of LexA repressor in vitro, which is consistent with the greater activity of the recA1202 mutant in vivo. The results explain, in part, why some recA mutants have unusually high constitutive RecA protease activity and why that activity is more or less resistant to C + G inhibition.
PMCID: PMC211525  PMID: 3049549
7.  SOS-like induction in Bacillus subtilis: induction of the RecA protein analog and a damage-inducible operon by DNA damage in Rec+ and DNA repair-deficient strains. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1988;170(4):1467-1474.
We quantitated the induction of the Bacillus subtilis Rec protein (the analog of Escherichia coli RecA protein) and the B. subtilis din-22 operon (representative of a set of DNA damage-inducible operons in B. subtilis) following DNA damage in Rec+ and DNA repair-deficient strains. After exposure to mitomycin C or UV irradiation, each of four distinct rec (recA1, recB2, recE4, and recM13) mutations reduced to the same extent the rates of both Rec protein induction (determined by densitometric scanning of immunoblot transfers) and din-22 operon induction (determined by assaying beta-galactosidase activity in din-22::Tn917-lacZ fusion strains). The induction deficiencies in recA1 and recE4 strains were partially complemented by the E. coli RecA protein, which was expressed on a plasmid in B. subtilis; the E. coli RecA protein had no effect on either induction event in Rec+, recB2, or recM13 strains. These results suggest that (i) the expression of both the B. subtilis Rec protein and the din-22 operon share a common regulatory component, (ii) the recA1 and recE4 mutations affect the regulation and/or activity of the B. subtilis Rec protein, and (iii) an SOS regulatory system like the E. coli system is highly conserved in B. subtilis. We also showed that the basal level of B. subtilis Rec protein is about 4,500 molecules per cell and that maximum induction by DNA damage causes an approximately fivefold increase in the rate of Rec protein accumulation.
PMCID: PMC210990  PMID: 3127374
8.  Role of glutamate dehydrogenase in ammonia assimilation in nitrogen-fixing Bacillus macerans. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1987;169(10):4692-4695.
Pathways of ammonia assimilation into glutamic acid in Bacillus macerans were investigated by measurements of the specific activities of glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH), glutamine synthetase, and glutamate synthase. In ammonia-rich medium, GDH was the predominant pathway of ammonia assimilation. In nitrogen-fixing cells in which the intracellular NH4+ concentration was 1.4 +/- 0.5 mM, the activity of GDH with a Km of 2.2 mM for NH4+ was found to be severalfold higher than that of glutamate synthase. The result suggests that GDH plays a significant role in the assimilation of NH4+ in N2-fixing B. macerans.
PMCID: PMC213841  PMID: 2888750
9.  Arginine decarboxylase from a Pseudomonas species. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1976;125(2):601-607.
An arginine decarboxylase has been isolated from a Pseudomonas species. The enzyme is constitutive and did not appear to be repressed by a variety of carbon sources. After an approximately 40-fold purification, the enzyme appeared more similar in its properties to the Escherichia coli biosynthetic arginine decarboxylase than to the E. coli inducible (biodegradative) enzyme. The Pseudomonas arginine decarboxylase exhibited a pH optimum of 8.1 and an absolute requirement of Mg2+ and pyridoxal phosphate, and was inhibited significantly at lower Mg2+ concentrations by the polyamines putrescine, spermidine, and cadaverine. The Km for L-arginine was about 0.25 mM at pH 8.1 AND 7.2. The enzyme was completely inhibited by p-chloromercuribenzoate. The inhibition was prevented by dithiothreitol, a feature that suggests the involvement of an -SH group. Of a variety of labeled amino acids tested, only L-arginine, but not D-arginine was decarboxylated. D-Arginine was a potent inhibitor of arginine decarboxylase with a Ki of 3.2 muM.
PMCID: PMC236121  PMID: 1382
10.  Properties of the imidazolylacetolphosphate aminotransferase produced in a mutant demonstrating no apparent genetic involvement of the structural gene. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1975;123(1):233-241.
Genetic studies with strain hisBH22 of Salmonella typhimurium indicate it contains a deletion within the histidine operon involving part of the hisH gene and all of the hisB gene, but not extending into the adjacent hisC gene which is adjacent to hisB. However, the specific activity of the hisC product, imidazolylacetolphosphate aminotransferase (EC, in this strain is only 10 to 15% of that found in extracts from other mutants with a normal hisC gene. We have examined the rate of aminotransferase synthesis in this mutant and we find that the rate of synthesis of aminotransferase activity is low in mutant hisBH22, but the rate increases as the temperature of growth is lowered from 37 to 23 C. The low rate of enzyme accumulation is not due to holoenzyme instability at 37 C but instead is due to apoenzyme instability at this temperature. By transducing the hisBH22 marker into a pyridoxine auxotroph and derepressing the histidine operon under conditions where the intracellular concentration of pyridoxal phosphate would be expected to be low, we were able to demonstrate significant apoenzyme production only at the lower temperature. We suggest that the explanation for low aminotransferase specific activity at 37 C is due to the presence of reduced numbers of catalytically active units caused by normal production of an unstable mutant apoenzyme with only approximately 15% of the molecules being activated to holoenzyme. The holoenzyme from strain hisBH22 is stable during growth of this strain at 37 C.
PMCID: PMC235711  PMID: 1095553

Results 1-11 (11)