The glucose-starvation stimulon of Escherichia coli: induced and repressed synthesis of enzymes of central metabolic pathways and role of acetyl phosphate in gene expression and starvation survival


  • Thomas Nyström

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    1. Department of General and Marine Microbiology, University of Göteborg, Medicinaregatan 9C, 41390 Göteborg, Sweden.
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Proteins of the glucose-starvation stimulon were identified by using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and the gene–protein database of Escherichia coli. Members of this stimulon Included enzymes of the Embden–Meyerhof–Parnas (EMP) pathway, phosphotransacetylase (Pta) and acetate kinase (AckA) of the acetyl phosphate/acetate production pathway, and formate transacetytase. The synthesis of these enzymes was found to be Induced concomitantly with the decreased synthesis of enzymes of the Krebs cycle. Thus, the modulation in the synthesis of specific proteins during aerobic glucose starvation is, In part, similar to the response of cells shifted to anaerobiosis. These modulations suggest that the glucose-starved cell increases the relative flow of carbon through the Pta–AckA pathway. Indeed, the ability to synthesize acetyl phosphate, an intermediate of the pathway, appears to be indispensable for glucose-starved cells as pta and ptaackA double mutants were found to be impaired in their ability to survive glucose starvation. The survival characteristics of ackA mutants and the wild-type parent were indistinguishable. Moreover, the pta mutant failed to induce several proteins of the glucose-starvation stimulon.