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J Bacteriol. 2002 Nov;184(21):5999-6006.

L-Malyl-coenzyme A lyase/beta-methylmalyl-coenzyme A lyase from Chloroflexus aurantiacus, a bifunctional enzyme involved in autotrophic CO(2) fixation.

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  • 1Mikrobiologie, Institut für Biologie II, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany.


The 3-hydroxypropionate cycle is a bicyclic autotrophic CO(2) fixation pathway in the phototrophic Chloroflexus aurantiacus (Bacteria), and a similar pathway is operating in autotrophic members of the Sulfolobaceae (Archaea). The proposed pathway involves in a first cycle the conversion of acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) and two bicarbonates to L-malyl-CoA via 3-hydroxypropionate and propionyl-CoA; L-malyl-CoA is cleaved by L-malyl-CoA lyase into acetyl-CoA and glyoxylate. In a second cycle, glyoxylate and another molecule of propionyl-CoA (derived from acetyl-CoA and bicarbonate) are condensed by a putative beta-methylmalyl-CoA lyase to beta-methylmalyl-CoA, which is converted to acetyl-CoA and pyruvate. The putative L-malyl-CoA lyase gene of C. aurantiacus was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli, and the recombinant enzyme was purified and studied. Beta-methylmalyl-CoA lyase was purified from cell extracts of C. aurantiacus and characterized. We show that these two enzymes are identical and that both enzymatic reactions are catalyzed by one single bifunctional enzyme, L-malyl-CoA lyase/beta-methylmalyl-CoA lyase. Interestingly, this enzyme works with two different substrates in two different directions: in the first cycle of CO(2) fixation, it cleaves L-malyl-CoA into acetyl-CoA and glyoxylate (lyase reaction), and in the second cycle it condenses glyoxylate with propionyl-CoA to beta-methylmalyl-CoA (condensation reaction). The combination of forward and reverse directions of a reversible enzymatic reaction, using two different substrates, is rather uncommon and reduces the number of enzymes required in the pathway. In summary, L-malyl-CoA lyase/beta-methylmalyl-CoA lyase catalyzes the interconversion of L-malyl-CoA plus propionyl-CoA to beta-methylmalyl-CoA plus acetyl-CoA.

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