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

Novel nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy methods demonstrate preferential carbon source utilization by Acinetobacter calcoaceticus.

Novel nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy techniques, designated metabolic observation, were used to study aromatic compound degradation by the soil bacterium Acinetobacter calcoaceticus. Bacteria which had been rendered spectroscopically invisible by growth with deuterated (2H) medium were used to inoculate cultures in which natural-abundance 1H hydrogen isotopes were provided solely by aromatic carbon sources in an otherwise 2H medium. Samples taken during the incubation of these cultures were analyzed by proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and proton signals were correlated with the corresponding aromatic compounds or their metabolic descendants. This approach allowed the identification and quantitation of metabolites which accumulated during growth. This in vivo metabolic monitoring facilitated studies of catabolism in the presence of multiple carbon sources, a topic about which relatively little is known. A. calcoaceticus initiates aromatic compound dissimilation by forming catechol or protocatechuate from a variety of substrates. Degradation proceeds via the beta-ketoadipate pathway, comprising two discrete branches that convert catechol or protocatechuate to tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates. As shown below, when provided with several carbon sources simultaneously, all degraded via the beta-ketoadipate pathway, A. calcoaceticus preferentially degraded specific compounds. For example, benzoate, degraded via the catechol branch, was consumed in preference to p-hydroxybenzoate, degraded via the protocatechuate branch, when both compounds were present. To determine if this preference were governed by metabolites unique to catechol degradation, pathway mutants were constructed. Studies of these mutants indicated that the product of catechol ring cleavage, cis,cis-muconate, inhibited the utilization of p-hydroxybenzoate in the presence of benzoate. The accumulation of high levels of cis,cis-muconate also appeared to be toxic to the cells.[1]


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