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Cell Biosci. 2011 Apr 19;1(1):16. doi: 10.1186/2045-3701-1-16.

General metabolism of Laribacter hongkongensis: a genome-wide analysis.

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Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.



Laribacter hongkongensis is associated with community-acquired gastroenteritis and traveler's diarrhea. In this study, we performed an in-depth annotation of the genes and pathways of the general metabolism of L. hongkongensis and correlated them with its phenotypic characteristics.


The L. hongkongensis genome possesses the pentose phosphate and gluconeogenesis pathways and tricarboxylic acid and glyoxylate cycles, but incomplete Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas and Entner-Doudoroff pathways, in agreement with its asaccharolytic phenotype. It contains enzymes for biosynthesis and β-oxidation of saturated fatty acids, biosynthesis of all 20 universal amino acids and selenocysteine, the latter not observed in Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Neisseria meningitidis and Chromobacterium violaceum. The genome contains a variety of dehydrogenases, enabling it to utilize different substrates as electron donors. It encodes three terminal cytochrome oxidases for respiration using oxygen as the electron acceptor under aerobic and microaerophilic conditions and four reductases for respiration with alternative electron acceptors under anaerobic conditions. The presence of complete tetrathionate reductase operon may confer survival advantage in mammalian host in association with diarrhea. The genome contains CDSs for incorporating sulfur and nitrogen by sulfate assimilation, ammonia assimilation and nitrate reduction. The existence of both glutamate dehydrogenase and glutamine synthetase/glutamate synthase pathways suggests an importance of ammonia metabolism in the living environments that it may encounter.


The L. hongkongensis genome possesses a variety of genes and pathways for carbohydrate, amino acid and lipid metabolism, respiratory chain and sulfur and nitrogen metabolism. These allow the bacterium to utilize various substrates for energy production and survive in different environmental niches.

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