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J Bacteriol. 2000 Dec;182(24):7007-13.

The Saccharomyces cerevisiae ICL2 gene encodes a mitochondrial 2-methylisocitrate lyase involved in propionyl-coenzyme A metabolism.

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Kluyver Laboratory of Biotechnology, Department of Microbiology and Enzymology, Delft University of Technology, 2628 BC Delft, The Netherlands.


The Saccharomyces cerevisiae ICL1 gene encodes isocitrate lyase, an essential enzyme for growth on ethanol and acetate. Previous studies have demonstrated that the highly homologous ICL2 gene (YPR006c) is transcribed during the growth of wild-type cells on ethanol. However, even when multiple copies are introduced, ICL2 cannot complement the growth defect of icl1 null mutants. It has therefore been suggested that ICL2 encodes a nonsense mRNA or nonfunctional protein. In the methylcitrate cycle of propionyl-coenzyme A metabolism, 2-methylisocitrate is converted to succinate and pyruvate, a reaction similar to that catalyzed by isocitrate lyase. To investigate whether ICL2 encodes a specific 2-methylisocitrate lyase, isocitrate lyase and 2-methylisocitrate lyase activities were assayed in cell extracts of wild-type S. cerevisiae and of isogenic icl1, icl2, and icl1 icl2 null mutants. Isocitrate lyase activity was absent in icl1 and icl1 icl2 null mutants, whereas in contrast, 2-methylisocitrate lyase activity was detected in the wild type and single icl mutants but not in the icl1 icl2 mutant. This demonstrated that ICL2 encodes a specific 2-methylisocitrate lyase and that the ICL1-encoded isocitrate lyase exhibits a low but significant activity with 2-methylisocitrate. Subcellular fractionation studies and experiments with an ICL2-green fluorescent protein fusion demonstrated that the ICL2-encoded 2-methylisocitrate lyase is located in the mitochondrial matrix. Similar to that of ICL1, transcription of ICL2 is subject to glucose catabolite repression. In glucose-limited cultures, growth with threonine as a nitrogen source resulted in a ca. threefold induction of ICL2 mRNA levels and of 2-methylisocitrate lyase activity in cell extracts relative to cultures grown with ammonia as the nitrogen source. This is consistent with an involvement of the 2-methylcitrate cycle in threonine catabolism.

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