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J Bacteriol. 2011 Sep;193(17):4469-76. doi: 10.1128/JB.00276-11. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

Activity and transcriptional regulation of bacterial protein-like glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase of the haloarchaea in Haloferax volcanii.

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Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0700, USA.

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  • J Bacteriol. 2011 Nov;193(21):6110.


Glycerol is a primary energy source for heterotrophic haloarchaea and a major component of "salty" biodiesel waste. Glycerol is catabolized solely by glycerol kinase (encoded by glpK) to glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P) in Haloferax volcanii. Here we characterized the next critical step of this metabolic pathway: the conversion of G3P to dihydroxyacetone phosphate by G3P dehydrogenase (G3PDH). H. volcanii harbors two putative G3PDH operons: (i) glpA1B1C1, located on the chromosome within the neighborhood of glpK, and (ii) glpA2B2C2, on megaplasmid pHV4. Analysis of knockout strains revealed that glpA1(and not glpA2) is required for growth on glycerol. However, both glpA1 and glpA2 could complement a glpA1 knockout strain (when expressed from a strong promoter in trans) and were required for the total G3PDH activity of cell lysates. The glpA1B1C1, glpK, glpF(encoding a putative glycerol facilitator), and ptsH2(encoding a homolog of the bacterial phosphotransferase system protein Hpr) genes were transcriptionally linked and appeared to be under the control of a strong, G3P-inducible promoter upstream of glpA1. Overall, this study provides fundamental insights into glycerol metabolism in H. volcanii and enhances our understanding of central metabolic pathways of haloarchaea.

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