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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Oct;1810(10):995-1005. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2011.01.002. Epub 2011 Jan 12.

The interplay of the EIIA(Ntr) component of the nitrogen-related phosphotransferase system (PTS(Ntr)) of Pseudomonas putida with pyruvate dehydrogenase.

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Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia, CSIC, Madrid, Spain.



Pseudomonas putida KT2440 is endowed with a variant of the phosphoenolpyruvate-carbohydrate phosphotransferase system (PTS(Ntr)), which is not related to sugar transport but believed to rule the metabolic balance of carbon vs. nitrogen. The metabolic targets of such a system are largely unknown.


Dielectric breakdown of P. putida cells grown in rich medium revealed the presence of forms of the EIIA(Ntr) (PtsN) component of PTS(Ntr), which were strongly associated to other cytoplasmic proteins. To investigate such intracellular partners of EIIA(Ntr), a soluble protein extract of bacteria bearing an E epitope tagged version of PtsN was immunoprecipitated with a monoclonal anti-E antibody and the pulled-down proteins identified by mass spectrometry.


The E1 subunit of the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex, the product of the aceE gene, was identified as a major interaction partner of EIIA(Ntr). To examine the effect of EIIA(Ntr) on PDH, the enzyme activity was measured in extracts of isogenic ptsN(+)/ptsN(-)P. putida strains and the role of phosphorylation was determined. Expression of PtsN and AceE proteins fused to different fluorescent moieties and confocal laser microscopy indicated a significant co-localization of the two proteins in the bacterial cytoplasm.


EIIA(Ntr) down-regulates PDH activity. Both genetic and biochemical evidence revealed that the non-phosphorylated form of PtsN is the protein species that inhibits PDH.


EIIA(Ntr) takes part in the node of C metabolism that checks the flux of carbon from carbohydrates into the Krebs cycle by means of direct protein-protein interactions with AceE. This type of control might connect metabolism to many other cellular functions. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Systems Biology of Microorganisms.

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