The studies of aconitase presented here, along with those of citrate synthase (P. H. Viollier, W. Minas, G. E. Dale, M. Folcher, and C. J. Thompson, J. Bacteriol. 183:3184–3192, 2001), were undertaken to investigate the role of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle in Streptomyces coelicolor development. A single aconitase activity (AcoA) was detected in protein extracts of cultures during column purification. The deduced amino acid sequence of the cloned acoA gene constituted the N-terminal sequence of semipurified AcoA and was homologous to bacterial A-type aconitases and bifunctional eukaryotic aconitases (iron regulatory proteins). The fact that an acoA disruption mutant (BZ4) did not grow on minimal glucose media in the absence of glutamate confirmed that this gene encoded the primary vegetative aconitase catalyzing flux through the TCA cycle. On glucose-based complete medium, BZ4 had defects in growth, antibiotic biosynthesis, and aerial hypha formation, partially due to medium acidification and accumulation of citrate. The inhibitory effects of acids and citrate on BZ4 were partly suppressed by buffer or by introducing a citrate synthase mutation. However, the fact that growth of an acoA citA mutant remained impaired, even on a nonacidogenic carbon source, suggested alternative functions of AcoA. Immunoblots revealed that AcoA was present primarily during substrate mycelial growth on solid medium. Transcription of acoA was limited to the early growth phase in liquid cultures from a start site mapped in vitro and in vivo
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