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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Mar 28;103(13):5114-9. Epub 2006 Mar 15.

A previously undescribed pathway for pyrimidine catabolism.

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  • 1Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, 111 Koshland Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3102, USA.

Abstract

The b1012 operon of Escherichia coli K-12, which is composed of seven unidentified ORFs, is one of the most highly expressed operons under control of nitrogen regulatory protein C. Examination of strains with lesions in this operon on Biolog Phenotype MicroArray (PM3) plates and subsequent growth tests indicated that they failed to use uridine or uracil as the sole nitrogen source and that the parental strain could use them at room temperature but not at 37 degrees C. A strain carrying an ntrB(Con) mutation, which elevates transcription of genes under nitrogen regulatory protein C control, could also grow on thymidine as the sole nitrogen source, whereas strains with lesions in the b1012 operon could not. Growth-yield experiments indicated that both nitrogens of uridine and thymidine were available. Studies with [(14)C]uridine indicated that a three-carbon waste product from the pyrimidine ring was excreted. After trimethylsilylation and gas chromatography, the waste product was identified by mass spectrometry as 3-hydroxypropionic acid. In agreement with this finding, 2-methyl-3-hydroxypropionic acid was released from thymidine. Both the number of available nitrogens and the waste products distinguished the pathway encoded by the b1012 operon from pyrimidine catabolic pathways described previously. We propose that the genes of this operon be named rutA-G for pyrimidine utilization. The product of the divergently transcribed gene, b1013, is a tetracycline repressor family regulator that controls transcription of the b1012 operon negatively.

Comment in

  • A hidden metabolic pathway exposed. [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006]
PMID:
16540542
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1458803
Free PMC Article

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