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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Unusual enzymes involved in five pathways of glutamate fermentation.

Anaerobic bacteria from the orders Clostridiales and Fusobacteriales are able to ferment glutamate by at least five different pathways, most of which contain enzymes with radicals in their catalytic pathways. The first two pathways proceed to ammonia, acetate and pyruvate via the coenzyme B12-dependent glutamate mutase, which catalyses the re-arrangement of the linear carbon skeleton to that of the branched-chain amino acid (2S,3S)-3-methylaspartate. Pyruvate then disproportionates either to CO2 and butyrate or to CO2, acetate and propionate. In the third pathway, glutamate again is converted to ammonia, CO2, acetate and butyrate. The key intermediate is (R)-2-hydroxyglutaryl-CoA, which is dehydrated to glutaconyl-CoA, followed by decarboxylation to crotonyl-CoA. The unusual dehydratase, containing an iron-sulfur cluster, is activated by an ATP-dependent one-electron reduction. The remaining two pathways require more then one organism for the complete catabolism of glutamate to short chain fatty acids. Decarboxylation of glutamate leads to 4-aminobutyrate, which is fermented by a second organism via the fourth pathway to acetate and butyrate, again mediated by an unusual dehydratase which catalyses the reversible dehydration of 4-hydroxybutyryl-CoA to crotonyl-CoA. The fifth pathway is the only one without decarboxylation, since the gamma-carboxylate of glutamate is reduced to the amino group of delta-aminovalerate, which then is fermented to acetate, propionate and valerate. The pathway involves the oxidative dehydration of 5-hydroxyvaleryl-CoA to 2,4-pentadienoyl-CoA followed by reduction to 3-pentenoyl-CoA and isomerisation to 2-pentenoyl-CoA.[1]


  1. Unusual enzymes involved in five pathways of glutamate fermentation. Buckel, W. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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