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Experimental evolution of a metabolic pathway for ethylene glycol utilization by Escherichia coli.

By A Boronat, E Caballero and J Aguilar


Spontaneous mutants of Escherichia coli able to grow on ethylene glycol as a sole source of carbon and energy were obtained from mutants that could grow on propylene glycol. Attempts to obtain ethylene glycol-utilizing mutants from wild-type E. coli were unsuccessful. The two major characteristics of the ethylene glycol-utilizing mutants were (i) increased activities of propanediol oxidoreductase, an enzyme present in the parental strain (a propylene glycol-positive strain), which also converted ethylene glycol into glycolaldehyde; and (ii) constitutive synthesis of high activities of glycolaldehyde dehydrogenase, which converted glycolaldehyde to glycolate. Glycolate was metabolized via the glycolate pathway, which was present in the wild-type cells; this was indicated by the induction in ethylene glycol-grown cells of glycolate oxidase, the first enzyme in the pathway. Glycolaldehyde dehydrogenase was partially characterized as an enzyme of this new metabolic pathway in E. coli, and glycolate was identified as the product of the reaction. This enzyme used NAD and NADP as coenzymes, although the NADP-dependent activity was about 10 times lower than the NAD-dependent activity. Uptake of [14C]ethylene glycol was dependent on the presence of the enzymes capable of metabolism of ethylene glycol. Glycolaldehyde and glycolate were identified as intermediate metabolites in the pathway

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1983
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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