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J Biol Chem. 2004 Sep 3;279(36):37324-33. Epub 2004 Jun 22.

The Escherichia coli fadK (ydiD) gene encodes an anerobically regulated short chain acyl-CoA synthetase.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


We recently reported a new metabolic competency for Escherichia coli, the ability to degrade and utilize fatty acids of various chain lengths as sole carbon and energy sources. This beta-oxidation pathway is distinct from the previously described aerobic fatty acid degradation pathway and requires enzymes encoded by two operons, yfcYX and ydiQRSTD. The yfcYX operon (renamed fadIJ) encodes enzymes required for hydration, oxidation, and thiolytic cleavage of the acyl chain. The ydiQRSTD operon encodes a putative acyl-CoA synthetase, ydiD (renamed fadK), as well as putative electron transport chain components. We report that FadK is as an acyl-CoA synthetase that has a preference for short chain length fatty acid substrates (<10 C atoms). The enzymatic mechanism of FadK is similar to other acyl-CoA synthetases in that it forms an acyl-AMP intermediate prior to the formation of the final acyl-CoA product. Expression of FadK is repressed during aerobic growth and is maximally expressed under anaerobic conditions in the presence of the terminal electron acceptor, fumarate.

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