Metabolic flux response to phosphoglucose isomerase knock-out in Escherichia coli and impact of overexpression of the soluble transhydrogenase UdhA


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Blocking glycolytic breakdown of glucose by inactivation of phosphoglucose isomerase (Pgi) in Escherichia coli led to a greatly reduced maximum specific growth rate. Examination of the operational catabolic pathways and their flux ratios using [U-13C6]glucose-labeling experiments and metabolic flux ratio analysis provide evidence for the pentose phosphate (PP) pathway as the primary route of glucose catabolism in the knock-out mutant. The resulting extensive flux through the PP pathway disturbs apparently the reducing power balance, since overexpression of the recently identified soluble transhydrogenase UdhA improves significantly the growth rate of the Pgi mutant. The presented results provide first evidence that UdhA restores the cellular redox balance by catalyzing electron transfer from NADPH to NADH.