The active uptake system for glutamate in Corynebacterium glutamicum is inducible by growth on glutamate as sole energy and carbon source and is also susceptible to catabolite repression by glucose. The basic level of uptake activity is low in glucose-grown cells (1.5 nmol · mg dry mass−1· min−1), it is intermediate when acetate is the carbon source (3.8 nmol · mg dry mass−1· min−1) and becomes fully induced by glutamate (15 nmol · mg dry mass−1· min−1). In all cases the uptake has, except for different Vmax values, identical kinetic and energetic properties, and is characterized by a low apparent Km value of 0.5–1.3 μM and by high substrate specificity. The transported substrate species is the deprotonated form which can also be concluded from the extremely high pH optimum of transport above pH 9. Glutamate uptake in cells grown in media with low K+ concentration is not influenced by external Na+ but is drastically stimulated by addition of K+. Stimulation by K+ could be separated into two different mechanisms. (a) Addition of K+ increases the internal pH, thereby stimulating glutamate uptake which is regulated by the internal pH in C. glutamicum. The apparent pK of the internal ‘pH switch’ is 6.6; below this value, uptake of glutamate is inhibited. (b) Internal K+ also directly promotes glutamate uptake. Effective uptake of glutamate can be observed only when the cytosolic K+ concentration exceeds a threshold value of about 200 mM. Stimulation of glutamate uptake by external K+ is not due to functional coupling of K+ and glutamate transport but reveals the necessity to replenish the internal K+ pool.
electrochemical proton potential