The methylaspartate cycle in haloarchaea and its possible role in carbon metabolism.
ABSTRACT: Haloarchaea (class Halobacteria) live in extremely halophilic conditions and evolved many unique metabolic features, which help them to adapt to their environment. The methylaspartate cycle, an anaplerotic acetate assimilation pathway recently proposed for Haloarcula marismortui, is one of these special adaptations. In this cycle, acetyl-CoA is oxidized to glyoxylate via methylaspartate as a characteristic intermediate. The following glyoxylate condensation with another molecule of acetyl-CoA yields malate, a starting substrate for anabolism. The proposal of the functioning of the cycle was based mainly on in vitro data, leaving several open questions concerning the enzymology involved and the occurrence of the cycle in halophilic archaea. Using gene deletion mutants of H. hispanica, enzyme assays and metabolite analysis, we now close these gaps by unambiguous identification of the genes encoding all characteristic enzymes of the cycle. Based on these results, we were able to perform a solid study of the distribution of the methylaspartate cycle and the alternative acetate assimilation strategy, the glyoxylate cycle, among haloarchaea. We found that both of these cycles are evenly distributed in haloarchaea. Interestingly, 83% of the species using the methylaspartate cycle possess also the genes for polyhydroxyalkanoate biosynthesis, whereas only 34% of the species with the glyoxylate cycle are capable to synthesize this storage compound. This finding suggests that the methylaspartate cycle is shaped for polyhydroxyalkanoate utilization during carbon starvation, whereas the glyoxylate cycle is probably adapted for growth on substrates metabolized via acetyl-CoA.
Project description:Haloarchaea are extremely halophilic heterotrophic microorganisms belonging to the class Halobacteria (Euryarchaeota). Almost half of the haloarchaea possesses the genes coding for enzymes of the methylaspartate cycle, a recently discovered anaplerotic acetate assimilation pathway. In this cycle, the enzymes of the tricarboxylic acid cycle together with the dedicated enzymes of the methylaspartate cycle convert two acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) molecules to malate. The methylaspartate cycle involves two reactions catalyzed by homologous enzymes belonging to the CitE-like enzyme superfamily, malyl-CoA lyase/thioesterase (haloarchaeal malate synthase [hMS]; Hah_2476 in Haloarcula hispanica) and ?-methylmalyl-CoA lyase (haloarchaeal ?-methylmalyl-CoA lyase [hMCL]; Hah_1341). Although both enzymes catalyze the same reactions, hMS was previously proposed to preferentially catalyze the formation of malate from acetyl-CoA and glyoxylate (malate synthase activity) and hMCL was proposed to primarily cleave ?-methylmalyl-CoA to propionyl-CoA and glyoxylate. Here we studied the physiological functions of these enzymes during acetate assimilation in H. hispanica by using biochemical assays of the wild type and deletion mutants. Our results reveal that the main physiological function of hMS is malyl-CoA (not malate) formation and that hMCL catalyzes a ?-methylmalyl-CoA lyase reaction in vivo The malyl-CoA thioesterase activities of both enzymes appear to be not essential for growth on acetate. Interestingly, despite the different physiological functions of hMS and hMCL, structural comparisons predict that these two proteins have virtually identical active sites, thus highlighting the need for experimental validation of their catalytic functions. Our results provide further proof of the operation of the methylaspartate cycle and indicate the existence of a distinct, yet-to-be-discovered malyl-CoA thioesterase in haloarchaea. IMPORTANCE:Acetate is one of the most important substances in natural environments. The activated form of acetate, acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA), is the high-energy intermediate at the crossroads of central metabolism: its oxidation generates energy for the cell, and about a third of all biosynthetic fluxes start directly from acetyl-CoA. Many organic compounds enter the central carbon metabolism via this key molecule. To sustain growth on acetyl-CoA-generating compounds, a dedicated assimilation (anaplerotic) pathway is required. The presence of an anaplerotic pathway is a prerequisite for growth in many environments, being important for environmentally, industrially, and clinically important microorganisms. Here we studied specific reactions of a recently discovered acetate assimilation pathway, the methylaspartate cycle, functioning in extremely halophilic archaea.
Project description:Growth on acetate or other acetyl-CoA-generating substrates as a sole source of carbon requires an anaplerotic pathway for the conversion of acetyl-CoA into cellular building blocks. Haloarchaea (class Halobacteria) possess two different anaplerotic pathways, the classical glyoxylate cycle and the novel methylaspartate cycle. The methylaspartate cycle was discovered in Haloarcula spp. and operates in ?40% of sequenced haloarchaea. In this cycle, condensation of one molecule of acetyl-CoA with oxaloacetate gives rise to citrate, which is further converted to 2-oxoglutarate and then to glutamate. The following glutamate rearrangement and deamination lead to mesaconate (methylfumarate) that needs to be activated to mesaconyl-C1-CoA and hydrated to ?-methylmalyl-CoA. The cleavage of ?-methylmalyl-CoA results in the formation of propionyl-CoA and glyoxylate. The carboxylation of propionyl-CoA and the condensation of glyoxylate with another acetyl-CoA molecule give rise to two C4-dicarboxylic acids, thus regenerating the initial acetyl-CoA acceptor and forming malate, its final product. Here we studied two enzymes of the methylaspartate cycle from Haloarcula hispanica, succinyl-CoA:mesaconate CoA-transferase (mesaconate CoA-transferase, Hah_1336) and mesaconyl-CoA hydratase (Hah_1340). Their genes were heterologously expressed in Haloferax volcanii, and the corresponding enzymes were purified and characterized. Mesaconate CoA-transferase was specific for its physiological substrates, mesaconate and succinyl-CoA, and produced only mesaconyl-C1-CoA and no mesaconyl-C4-CoA. Mesaconyl-CoA hydratase had a 3.5-fold bias for the physiological substrate, mesaconyl-C1-CoA, compared to mesaconyl-C4-CoA, and virtually no activity with other tested enoyl-CoA/3-hydroxyacyl-CoA compounds. Our results further prove the functioning of the methylaspartate cycle in haloarchaea and suggest that mesaconate CoA-transferase and mesaconyl-CoA hydratase can be regarded as characteristic enzymes of this cycle.
Project description:Assimilation of acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) is an essential process in many bacteria that proceeds via the glyoxylate cycle or the ethylmalonyl-CoA pathway. In both assimilation strategies, one of the final products is malate that is formed by the condensation of acetyl-CoA with glyoxylate. In the glyoxylate cycle this reaction is catalyzed by malate synthase, whereas in the ethylmalonyl-CoA pathway the reaction is separated into two proteins: malyl-CoA lyase, a well-known enzyme catalyzing the Claisen condensation of acetyl-CoA with glyoxylate and yielding malyl-CoA, and an unidentified malyl-CoA thioesterase that hydrolyzes malyl-CoA into malate and CoA. In this study the roles of Mcl1 and Mcl2, two malyl-CoA lyase homologs in Rhodobacter sphaeroides, were investigated by gene inactivation and biochemical studies. Mcl1 is a true (3S)-malyl-CoA lyase operating in the ethylmalonyl-CoA pathway. Notably, Mcl1 is a promiscuous enzyme and catalyzes not only the condensation of acetyl-CoA and glyoxylate but also the cleavage of beta-methylmalyl-CoA into glyoxylate and propionyl-CoA during acetyl-CoA assimilation. In contrast, Mcl2 was shown to be the sought (3S)-malyl-CoA thioesterase in the ethylmalonyl-CoA pathway, which specifically hydrolyzes (3S)-malyl-CoA but does not use beta-methylmalyl-CoA or catalyze a lyase or condensation reaction. The identification of Mcl2 as thioesterase extends the enzyme functions of malyl-CoA lyase homologs that have been known only as "Claisen condensation" enzymes so far. Mcl1 and Mcl2 are both related to malate synthase, an enzyme which catalyzes both a Claisen condensation and thioester hydrolysis reaction.
Project description:The phototrophic bacterium Chloroflexus aurantiacus uses a yet unsolved 3-hydroxypropionate cycle for autotrophic CO(2) fixation. It starts from acetyl-CoA, with acetyl-CoA and propionyl-CoA carboxylases acting as carboxylating enzymes. In a first cycle, (S)-malyl-CoA is formed from acetyl-CoA and 2 molecules of bicarbonate. (S)-Malyl-CoA cleavage releases the CO(2) fixation product glyoxylate and regenerates the starting molecule acetyl-CoA. Here we complete the missing steps devoted to glyoxylate assimilation. In a second cycle, glyoxylate is combined with propionyl-CoA, an intermediate of the first cycle, to form beta-methylmalyl-CoA. This condensation is followed by dehydration to mesaconyl-C1-CoA. An unprecedented CoA transferase catalyzes the intramolecular transfer of the CoA moiety to the C4 carboxyl group of mesaconate. Mesaconyl-C4-CoA then is hydrated by an enoyl-CoA hydratase to (S)-citramalyl-CoA. (S)-Citramalyl-CoA is cleaved into acetyl-CoA and pyruvate by a tri-functional lyase, which previously cleaved (S)-malyl-CoA and formed beta-methylmalyl-CoA. Thus, the enigmatic disproportionation of glyoxylate and propionyl-CoA into acetyl-CoA and pyruvate is solved in an elegant and economic way requiring only 3 additional enzymes. The whole bicyclic pathway results in pyruvate formation from 3 molecules of bicarbonate and involves 19 steps but only 13 enzymes. Elements of the 3-hydroxypropionate cycle may be used for the assimilation of small organic molecules. The 3-hydroxypropionate cycle is compared with the Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle and other autotrophic pathways.
Project description:Acetyl-CoA assimilation was extensively studied in organisms harboring the glyoxylate cycle. In this study, we analyzed the metabolism of the facultative methylotroph Methylobacterium extorquens AM1, which lacks isocitrate lyase, the key enzyme in the glyoxylate cycle, during growth on acetate. MS/MS-based proteomic analysis revealed that the protein repertoire of M. extorquens AM1 grown on acetate is similar to that of cells grown on methanol and includes enzymes of the ethylmalonyl-CoA (EMC) pathway that were recently shown to operate during growth on methanol. Dynamic 13C labeling experiments indicate the presence of distinct entry points for acetate: the EMC pathway and the TCA cycle. 13C steady-state metabolic flux analysis showed that oxidation of acetyl-CoA occurs predominantly via the TCA cycle and that assimilation occurs via the EMC pathway. Furthermore, acetyl-CoA condenses with the EMC pathway product glyoxylate, resulting in malate formation. The latter, also formed by the TCA cycle, is converted to phosphoglycerate by a reaction sequence that is reversed with respect to the serine cycle. Thus, the results obtained in this study reveal the utilization of common pathways during the growth of M. extorquens AM1 on C1 and C2 compounds, but with a major redirection of flux within the central metabolism. Furthermore, our results indicate that the metabolic flux distribution is highly complex in this model methylotroph during growth on acetate and is fundamentally different from organisms using the glyoxylate cycle.
Project description:The phototrophic bacterium Chloroflexus aurantiacus uses the 3-hydroxypropionate cycle for autotrophic CO(2) fixation. This cycle starts with acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) and produces glyoxylate. Glyoxylate is an unconventional cell carbon precursor that needs special enzymes for assimilation. Glyoxylate is combined with propionyl-CoA to beta-methylmalyl-CoA, which is converted to citramalate. Cell extracts catalyzed the succinyl-CoA-dependent conversion of citramalate to acetyl-CoA and pyruvate, the central cell carbon precursor. This reaction is due to the combined action of enzymes that were upregulated during autotrophic growth, a coenzyme A transferase with the use of succinyl-CoA as the CoA donor and a lyase cleaving citramalyl-CoA to acetyl-CoA and pyruvate. Genomic analysis identified a gene coding for a putative coenzyme A transferase. The gene was heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli and shown to code for succinyl-CoA:d-citramalate coenzyme A transferase. This enzyme, which catalyzes the reaction d-citramalate + succinyl-CoA --> d-citramalyl-CoA + succinate, was purified and studied. It belongs to class III of the coenzyme A transferase enzyme family, with an aspartate residue in the active site. The homodimeric enzyme composed of 44-kDa subunits was specific for succinyl-CoA as a CoA donor but also accepted d-malate and itaconate instead of d-citramalate. The CoA transferase gene is part of a cluster of genes which are cotranscribed, including the gene for d-citramalyl-CoA lyase. It is proposed that the CoA transferase and the lyase catalyze the last two steps in the glyoxylate assimilation route.
Project description:The Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) cycle is presumably evolved for optimal synthesis of C3 sugars, but not for the production of C2 metabolite acetyl-CoA. The carbon loss in producing acetyl-CoA from decarboxylation of C3 sugar limits the maximum carbon yield of photosynthesis. Here we design a synthetic malyl-CoA-glycerate (MCG) pathway to augment the CBB cycle for efficient acetyl-CoA synthesis. This pathway converts a C3 metabolite to two acetyl-CoA by fixation of one additional CO2 equivalent, or assimilates glyoxylate, a photorespiration intermediate, to produce acetyl-CoA without net carbon loss. We first functionally demonstrate the design of the MCG pathway in vitro and in Escherichia coli. We then implement the pathway in a photosynthetic organism Synechococcus elongates PCC7942, and show that it increases the intracellular acetyl-CoA pool and enhances bicarbonate assimilation by roughly 2-fold. This work provides a strategy to improve carbon fixation efficiency in photosynthetic organisms.
Project description:Archaea domain is comprised of many versatile taxa that often colonize extreme habitats. Here, we report the discovery of strictly anaerobic extremely halophilic euryarchaeon, capable of obtaining energy by dissimilatory reduction of elemental sulfur using acetate as the only electron donor and forming sulfide and CO2 as the only products. This type of respiration has never been observed in hypersaline anoxic habitats and is the first example of such metabolic capability in the entire Archaea domain. We isolated and cultivated these unusual organisms, selecting one representative strain, HSR2, for detailed characterization. Our studies including physiological tests, genome sequencing, gene expression, metabolomics and [(14)C]-bicarbonate assimilation assays revealed that HSR2 oxidized acetate completely via the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Anabolic assimilation of acetate occurred via activated glyoxylate bypass and anaplerotic carboxylation. HSR2 possessed sulfurtransferase and an array of membrane-bound polysulfide reductase genes, all of which were expressed during the growth. Our findings suggest the biogeochemical contribution of haloarchaea in hypersaline anoxic environments must be reconsidered.
Project description:Cell extracts of Rhodobacter capsulatus grown on acetate contained an apparent malate synthase activity but lacked isocitrate lyase activity. Therefore, R. capsulatus cannot use the glyoxylate cycle for acetate assimilation, and a different pathway must exist. It is shown that the apparent malate synthase activity is due to the combination of a malyl-coenzyme A (CoA) lyase and a malyl-CoA-hydrolyzing enzyme. Malyl-CoA lyase activity was 20-fold up-regulated in acetate-grown cells versus glucose-grown cells. Malyl-CoA lyase was purified 250-fold with a recovery of 6%. The enzyme catalyzed not only the reversible condensation of glyoxylate and acetyl-CoA to L-malyl-CoA but also the reversible condensation of glyoxylate and propionyl-CoA to beta-methylmalyl-CoA. Enzyme activity was stimulated by divalent ions with preference for Mn(2+) and was inhibited by EDTA. The N-terminal amino acid sequence was determined, and a corresponding gene coding for a 34.2-kDa protein was identified and designated mcl1. The native molecular mass of the purified protein was 195 +/- 20 kDa, indicating a homohexameric composition. A homologous mcl1 gene was found in the genomes of the isocitrate lyase-negative bacteria Rhodobacter sphaeroides and Rhodospirillum rubrum in similar genomic environments. For Streptomyces coelicolor and Methylobacterium extorquens, mcl1 homologs are located within gene clusters implicated in acetate metabolism. We therefore propose that L-malyl-CoA/beta-methylmalyl-CoA lyase encoded by mcl1 is involved in acetate assimilation by R. capsulatus and possibly other glyoxylate cycle-negative bacteria.
Project description:The 3-hydroxypropionate cycle is a bicyclic autotrophic CO(2) fixation pathway in the phototrophic Chloroflexus aurantiacus (Bacteria), and a similar pathway is operating in autotrophic members of the Sulfolobaceae (Archaea). The proposed pathway involves in a first cycle the conversion of acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) and two bicarbonates to L-malyl-CoA via 3-hydroxypropionate and propionyl-CoA; L-malyl-CoA is cleaved by L-malyl-CoA lyase into acetyl-CoA and glyoxylate. In a second cycle, glyoxylate and another molecule of propionyl-CoA (derived from acetyl-CoA and bicarbonate) are condensed by a putative beta-methylmalyl-CoA lyase to beta-methylmalyl-CoA, which is converted to acetyl-CoA and pyruvate. The putative L-malyl-CoA lyase gene of C. aurantiacus was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli, and the recombinant enzyme was purified and studied. Beta-methylmalyl-CoA lyase was purified from cell extracts of C. aurantiacus and characterized. We show that these two enzymes are identical and that both enzymatic reactions are catalyzed by one single bifunctional enzyme, L-malyl-CoA lyase/beta-methylmalyl-CoA lyase. Interestingly, this enzyme works with two different substrates in two different directions: in the first cycle of CO(2) fixation, it cleaves L-malyl-CoA into acetyl-CoA and glyoxylate (lyase reaction), and in the second cycle it condenses glyoxylate with propionyl-CoA to beta-methylmalyl-CoA (condensation reaction). The combination of forward and reverse directions of a reversible enzymatic reaction, using two different substrates, is rather uncommon and reduces the number of enzymes required in the pathway. In summary, L-malyl-CoA lyase/beta-methylmalyl-CoA lyase catalyzes the interconversion of L-malyl-CoA plus propionyl-CoA to beta-methylmalyl-CoA plus acetyl-CoA.