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

Link between primary and secondary metabolism in the biotransformation of trimethylammonium compounds by escherichia coli.

The aim of this work was to understand the steps controlling the process of biotransformation of trimethylamonium compounds into L(-)-carnitine by Escherichia coli and the link between the central carbon or primary and the secondary metabolism expressed. Thus, the enzyme activities involved in the biotransformation process of crotonobetaine into L(-)-carnitine (crotonobetaine hydration reaction and crotonobetaine reduction reaction), in the synthesis of acetyl-CoA ( pyruvate dehydrogenase, acetyl-CoA synthetase, and ATP:acetate phosphotransferase) and in the distribution of metabolites for the tricarboxylic acid ( isocitrate dehydrogenase) and glyoxylate (isocitrate lyase) cycles, were followed in batch with both growing and resting cells and during continuous cell growth in stirred-tank and high-cell-density membrane reactors. In addition, the levels of carnitine, crotonobetaine, gamma-butyrobetaine, ATP, NADH/NAD(+), and acetyl-CoA/CoA ratios were measured to determine how metabolic fluxes were distributed in the catabolic system. The results provide the first experimental evidence demonstrating the important role of the glyoxylate shunt during biotransformation of resting cells and the need for high levels of ATP to maintain metabolite transport and biotransformation (2.1 to 16.0 mmol L cellular/mmol ATP L reactor h). Moreover, the results obtained for the pool of acetyl-CoA/CoA indicate that it also correlated with the biotransformation process. The main metabolic pathway operating during cell growth in the high cell-density membrane reactor was that related to isocitrate dehydrogenase (during start-up) and isocitrate lyase (during steady-state operation), together with phosphotransacetylase and acetyl-CoA synthetase. More importantly, the link between central carbon and L(-)-carnitine metabolism at the level of the ATP pool was also confirmed.[1]


  1. Link between primary and secondary metabolism in the biotransformation of trimethylammonium compounds by escherichia coli. Cánovas, M., Bernal, V., Torroglosa, T., Ramirez, J.L., Iborra, J.L. Biotechnol. Bioeng. (2003) [Pubmed]
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