Send to

Choose Destination
Microb Cell Fact. 2011 Aug 4;10:63. doi: 10.1186/1475-2859-10-63.

Polyphosphate--an ancient energy source and active metabolic regulator.

Author information

Slovak Academy of Sciences, Institute of Chemistry, Centre for Glycomics, Dúbravská cesta 9, Bratislava, Slovakia.


There are a several molecules on Earth that effectively store energy within their covalent bonds, and one of these energy-rich molecules is polyphosphate. In microbial cells, polyphosphate granules are synthesised for both energy and phosphate storage and are degraded to produce nucleotide triphosphate or phosphate. Energy released from these energetic carriers is used by the cell for production of all vital molecules such as amino acids, nucleobases, sugars and lipids. Polyphosphate chains directly regulate some processes in the cell and are used as phosphate donors in gene regulation. These two processes, energetic metabolism and regulation, are orchestrated by polyphosphate kinases. Polyphosphate kinases (PPKs) can currently be categorized into three groups (PPK1, PPK2 and PPK3) according their functionality; they can also be divided into three groups according their homology (EcPPK1, PaPPK2 and ScVTC). This review discusses historical information, similarities and differences, biochemical characteristics, roles in stress response regulation and possible applications in the biotechnology industry of these enzymes. At the end of the review, a hypothesis is discussed in view of synthetic biology applications that states polyphosphate and calcium-rich organelles have endosymbiotic origins from ancient protocells that metabolized polyphosphate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center