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Chem Rec. 2004;3(5):281-7.

Unique sugar metabolism and novel enzymes of hyperthermophilic archaea.

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  • 1Department of Biological Science and Technology, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Tokushima, Tokushima 770-8506, Japan.


Hyperthermophiles are a group of microorganisms that have their optimum growth temperature above 80 degrees C. More than 60 species of the hyperthermophiles have been isolated from marine and continental volcanic environments. Most hyperthermophiles belong to Archaea, the third domain of life, and are considered to be the most ancient of all extant life forms. Recent studies have revealed the presence of unusual sugar metabolic processes in hyperthermophilic archaea, for example, a modified Embden-Meyerhof pathway, that has so far not been observed in bacteria and eucarya. Several novel enzymes, such as ADP-dependent glucokinase, ADP-dependent phosphofructokinase, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate ferredoxin oxidoreductase, phosphoenolpyruvate synthase, pyruvate : ferredoxin oxidoreductase, and ADP-forming acetyl-CoA synthetase, have been found to be involved in a modified Embden-Meyerhof pathway of the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus. In addition, a unique mode of ATP regeneration has been postulated to exist in the pathway of P. furiosus. The metabolic design observed in this microorganism might reflect the situation at an early stage of evolution.

Copyright 2004 The Japan Chemical Journal Forum and Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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