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

The alternative D-galactose degrading pathway of Aspergillus nidulans proceeds via L-sorbose.

The catabolism of d-galactose in yeast depends on the enzymes of the Leloir pathway. In contrast, Aspergillus nidulans mutants in galactokinase ( galE) can still grow on d-galactose in the presence of ammonium-but not nitrate-ions as nitrogen source. A. nidulans galE mutants transiently accumulate high (400 mM) intracellular concentrations of galactitol, indicating that the alternative d-galactose degrading pathway may proceed via this intermediate. The enzyme degrading galactitol was identified as l-arabitol dehydrogenase, because an A. nidulans loss-of-function mutant in this enzyme ( araA1) did not show NAD(+)-dependent galactitol dehydrogenase activity, still accumulated galactitol but was unable to catabolize it thereafter, and a double galE/araA1 mutant was unable to grow on d-galactose or galactitol. The product of galactitol oxidation was identified as l-sorbose, which is a substrate for hexokinase, as evidenced by a loss of l-sorbose phosphorylating activity in an A. nidulans hexokinase ( frA1) mutant. l-Sorbose catabolism involves a hexokinase step, indicated by the inability of the frA1 mutant to grow on galactitol or l-sorbose, and by the fact that a galE/frA1 double mutant of A. nidulans was unable to grow on d-galactose. The results therefore provide evidence for an alternative pathway of d-galactose catabolism in A. nidulans that involves reduction of the d-galactose to galactitol and NAD(+)-dependent oxidation of galactitol by l-arabitol dehydrogenase to l-sorbose.[1]


  1. The alternative D-galactose degrading pathway of Aspergillus nidulans proceeds via L-sorbose. Fekete, E., Karaffa, L., Sándor, E., Bányai, I., Seiboth, B., Gyémánt, G., Sepsi, A., Szentirmai, A., Kubicek, C.P. Arch. Microbiol. (2004) [Pubmed]
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