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Eur J Biochem. 1992 Apr 15;205(2):853-66.

13C-NMR study of autotrophic CO2 fixation pathways in the sulfur-reducing Archaebacterium Thermoproteus neutrophilus and in the phototrophic Eubacterium Chloroflexus aurantiacus.

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1
Abteilung Angewandte Mikrobiologie, University of Ulm, Federal Republic of Germany.

Abstract

The unresolved autotrophic CO2 fixation pathways in the sulfur-reducing Archaebacterium Thermoproteus neutrophilus and in the phototrophic Eubacterium Chloroflexus aurantiacus have been investigated. Autotrophically growing cultures were labelled with [1,4-13C1]succinate, and the 13C pattern in cell constituents was determined by 1H- and 13C-NMR spectroscopy of purified amino acids and other cell constituents. In both organisms succinate contributed to less than 10% of cell carbon, the major part of carbon originated from CO2. All cell constituents became 13C-labelled, but different patterns were observed in the two organisms. This proves that two different cyclic CO2 fixation pathways are operating in autotrophic carbon assimilation in both of which succinate is an intermediate. The 13C-labelling pattern in T. neutrophilus is consistent with the operation of a reductive citric acid cycle and rules out any other known autotrophic CO2 fixation pathway. Surprisingly, the proffered [1,4-13C1]succinate was partially converted to double-labelled [3,4-13C2]glutamate, but not to double-labelled aspartate. These findings suggest that the conversion of citrate to 2-oxoglutarate is readily reversible under the growth conditions used, and a reversible citrate cleavage reaction is proposed. The 13C-labelling pattern in C. aurantiacus disagrees with any of the established CO2 fixation pathways; it therefore demands a novel autotrophic CO2 fixation cycle in which 3-hydroxypropionate and succinate are likely intermediates. The bacterium excreted substantial amounts of 3-hydroxypropionate (5 mM) and succinate (0.5 mM) at the end of autotrophic growth. Autotrophically grown Chloroflexus cells contained acetyl-CoA carboxylase and propionyl-CoA carboxylase activity. These enzymes are proposed to be the main CO2-fixing enzymes resulting in malonyl-CoA and methylmalonyl-CoA formation; from these carboxylation products 3-hydroxypropionate and succinate, respectively, can be formed.

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