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Mol Microbiol. 2017 Jan;103(1):55-66. doi: 10.1111/mmi.13541. Epub 2016 Oct 20.

Investigation on the anaerobic propionate degradation by Escherichia coli K12.

Author information

1
Department of Applied Biology, Institute for Applied Biosciences, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany.
2
Department of Microbiology on Natural and Technical Interfaces, Institute of Functional Interfaces, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany.
3
Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica (ITQB), Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Oeiras, Portugal.
4
Institute for Biological Interfaces, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany.

Abstract

Propionate is an abundant carboxylic acid in nature. Microorganisms metabolize propionate aerobically via the 2-methylcitrate pathway. This pathway depends on a series of three reactions in the citric acid cycle that leads to the conversion of succinate to oxaloacetate. Interestingly, the γ-proteobacterium Escherichia coli can use propionate as a carbon and electron source under oxic but not under anoxic conditions. RT-PCR and transcriptomic analysis revealed a posttranscriptional regulation of the prpBCDE-gene cluster encoding the necessary enzymes for propionate metabolism. The polycistronic mRNA seems to be hydrolyzed in the 3'-5' direction under anoxic conditions. This regulatory strategy is highly constructive because the last gene of the operon encodes the first enzyme of the propionate metabolism. Further analysis revealed that RNase R is involved in the hydrolysis of the prp transcripts. Consequently, an rnr-deletion strain could metabolize propionate under anoxic conditions. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study describing the influence of RNase R on the anaerobic metabolism of E. coli.

PMID:
27671713
DOI:
10.1111/mmi.13541
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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