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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.

SUBMITTER: Borjian F 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4817688 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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