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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2005 Dec;8(6):695-705. Epub 2005 Oct 26.

Unusual pathways and enzymes of central carbohydrate metabolism in Archaea.

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Universität Duisburg-Essen, Campus Essen, FB Biologie und Geografie, Mikrobiologie, Universitätsstr.5, D-45117 Essen, Germany.


Sugar-utilizing hyperthermophilic and halophilic Archaea degrade glucose and glucose polymers to acetate or to CO2 using O2, nitrate, sulfur or sulfate as electron acceptors. Comparative analyses of glycolytic pathways in these organisms indicate a variety of differences from the classical Emden-Meyerhof and Entner-Doudoroff pathways that are operative in Bacteria and Eukarya, respectively. The archaeal pathways are characterized by the presence of numerous novel enzymes and enzyme families that catalyze, for example, the phosphorylation of glucose and of fructose 6-phosphate, the isomerization of glucose 6-phosphate, the cleavage of fructose 1,6-bisphosphate, the oxidation of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate and the conversion of acetyl-CoA to acetate. Recent major advances in deciphering the complexity of archaeal central carbohydrate metabolism were gained by combination of classical biochemical and genomic-based approaches.

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