[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genome-scale analysis of predicted metabolic pathways has revealed the common occurrence of apparent redundancy for specific functional units, or metabolic modules. In many cases, mutation analysis does not resolve function, and instead, direct experimental analysis of metabolic flux under changing conditions is necessary. In order to use genome sequences to build models of cellular function, it is important to define function for such apparently redundant systems. Here we describe direct flux measurements to determine the role of redundancy in three modules involved in formaldehyde assimilation and dissimilation in a bacterium growing on methanol. A combination of deuterium and (14)C labeling was used to measure the flux through each of the branches of metabolism for growth on methanol during transitions into and out of methylotrophy. The cells were found to differentially partition formaldehyde among the three modules depending on the flux of methanol into the cell. A dynamic mathematical model demonstrated that the kinetic constants of the enzymes involved are sufficient to account for this phenomenon. We demonstrate the role of redundancy in formaldehyde metabolism and have uncovered a new paradigm for coping with toxic, high-flux metabolic intermediates: a dynamic, interconnected metabolic loop.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genomic searches were used to reconstruct the putative carotenoid biosynthesis pathway in the pink-pigmented facultative methylotroph Methylobacterium extorquens AM1. Four genes for putative phytoene desaturases were identified. A colorless mutant was obtained by transposon mutagenesis, and the insertion was shown to be in one of the putative phytoene desaturase genes. Mutations in the other three did not affect color. The tetracycline marker was removed from the original transposon mutant, resulting in a pigment-free strain with wild-type growth properties useful as a tool for future experiments.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 01/2004; 69(12):7563-6. · 3.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The metabolic fluxes of central carbon metabolism were measured in chemostat-grown cultures of Methylobacterium extorquens AM1 with methanol as the sole organic carbon and energy source and growth-limiting substrate. Label tracing experiments were carried out using 70% (13)C-methanol in the feed, and the steady-state mass isotopomer distributions of amino acids derived from total cell protein were measured by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Fluxes were calculated from the isotopomer distribution data using an isotopomer balance model and evolutionary error minimization algorithm. The combination of labeled methanol with unlabeled CO(2), which enters central metabolism in two different reactions, provided the discriminatory power necessary to allow quantification of the unknown fluxes within a reasonably small confidence interval. In wild-type M. extorquens AM1, no measurable flux was detected through pyruvate dehydrogenase or malic enzyme, and very little flux through alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase (1.4% of total carbon). In contrast, the alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase flux was 25.5% of total carbon in the regulatory mutant strain phaR, while the pyruvate dehydrogenase and malic enzyme fluxes remained insignificant. The success of this technique with growth on C(1) compounds suggests that it can be applied to help characterize the effects of other regulatory mutations, and serve as a diagnostic tool in the metabolic engineering of methylotrophic bacteria.
Biotechnology and Bioengineering 11/2003; 84(1):45-55. · 3.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The growth of Methylobacterium extorquens AM1 on C(1) compounds has been well-studied, but little is known about how this methylotroph grows on multicarbon compounds. A Tn5 transposon mutagenesis procedure was performed to identify genes involved in the growth of M. extorquens AM1 on succinate and pyruvate. Of the 15000 insertion colonies screened, 71 mutants were found that grew on methanol but either grew slowly or were unable to grow on one or both of the multicarbon substrates. For each of these mutants, the chromosomal region adjacent to the insertion site was sequenced, and 55 different genes were identified and assigned putative functions. These genes fell into a number of predicted categories, including central carbon metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, regulation, transport and non-essential housekeeping functions. This study focused on genes predicted to encode enzymes of central heterotrophic metabolism: 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase, pyruvate dehydrogenase and NADH : ubiquinone oxidoreductase. In each case, the mutants showed normal growth on methanol and impaired growth on pyruvate and succinate, consistent with a role specific to heterotrophic metabolism. For the first two cases, no detectable activity of the corresponding enzyme was found in the mutant, verifying the predictions. The results of this study were used to reconstruct multicarbon metabolism of M. extorquens AM1 during growth on methanol, succinate and pyruvate.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A stoichiometric model of central metabolism was developed based on new information regarding metabolism in this bacterium to evaluate the steady-state growth capabilities of the serine cycle facultative methylotroph Methylobacterium extorquens AM1 during growth on methanol, succinate, and pyruvate. The model incorporates 20 reversible and 47 irreversible reactions, 65 intracellular metabolites, and experimentally-determined biomass composition. The flux space for this underdetermined system of equations was defined by finding the elementary modes, and constraints based on experimental observations were applied to determine which of these elementary modes give a reasonable description of the flux distribution for each growth substrate. The predicted biomass yield, on a carbon atom basis, is 49.8%, which agrees well with the range of published experimental yield measurements (37-50%). The model predicts the cell to be limited by reduced pyridine nucleotide availability during methylotrophic growth, but energy-limited when growing on multicarbon substrates. Mutation and phenotypic analysis was used to explore a previously unknown region of the metabolic map and to confirm the stoichiometry of the pathways in this region used in the metabolic model. Based on genome sequence data and simulation results, three enzymes involved in C(3)-C(4) interconversion pathways were predicted to be mutually redundant: malic enzyme, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, and phosphoenolpyruvate synthase. Insertion mutations in the genes predicted to encode these enzymes were made and these mutants were capable of growing on all substrates tested, confirming the redundancy of these pathways. Likewise, pathway analysis suggests that the TCA cycle enzymes citrate synthase and succinate dehydrogenase are essential for all growth substrates. In keeping with these predictions, null mutants could not be obtained in these genes. Finally, a similar model was developed for the ribulose monophosphate pathway obligate methylotroph Methylobacillus flagellatum KT to compare the efficiency of carbon utilization in the two types of methylotrophic carbon utilization pathways. The predicted yield for this organism on methanol is 65.9%.
Biotechnology and Bioengineering 06/2002; 78(3):296-312. · 3.65 Impact Factor