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

Role of glutamine synthetase in the uptake and metabolism of methylammonium by Azotobacter vinelandii.

Methylammonium is a substrate for the ammonium transport system of Azotobacter vinelandii. During cellular uptake methylammonium is rapidly converted to a less polar metabolite (E. M. Barnes, Jr., and P. Zimniak, J. Bacteriol. 146:512-516, 1981). This metabolite has been isolated from A. vinelandii and identified as gamma-glutamylmethylamide by mass spectroscopy, 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and cochromatography with the authentic compound. Escherichia coli also accumulated gamma-glutamylmethylamide during methylammonium uptake. The biosynthesis of gamma-glutamylmethylamide in vitro required methylammonium, ATP, L-glutamate, and a soluble cell extract from A. vinelandii. The enzyme responsible for gamma-glutamylmethylamide synthesis was glutamine synthetase. In a crude extract, L-methionine-DL-sulfoximine was equipotent in inhibiting the activities for gamma-glutamyltransferase and for the synthesis of glutamine and gamma-glutamylmethylamide. Likewise, an antiserum against the glutamine synthetase of E. coli precipitated the transferase and both synthetic activities at similar titers. During repression by growth of cells on ammonium medium, the synthesis of glutamine and gamma-glutamylmethylamide in vitro was also inhibited coordinately. A partially purified preparation of glutamine synthetase from A. vinelandii utilized methylammonium as substrate (Km = 78 mM, Vmax = 0.30 mumol/min per mg), although less efficiently than ammonium (Km = 0.089 mM, Vmax = 1.1 mumol/min per mg). The kinetic properties of glutamine synthetase with methylammonium as substrate as well as the insensitivity of this activity to inhibition by T1+ were strikingly different from methylammonium translocation. Thus, methylammonium (ammonium) translocation and intracellular trapping as glutamylamides are experimentally distinguishable processes.[1]


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