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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 1996 Oct;70(2-4):253-67.

Physiology of pyruvate metabolism in Lactococcus lactis.

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Centre de Bioingnierie Gilbert Durand, UMR CNRS, Institut National des Sciences Appliques, Complexe Scientifique de Rangueil, Toulouse, France.


Lactococcus lactis, a homofermentative lactic acid bacterium, has been studied extensively over several decades to obtain sometimes conflicting concepts relating to the growth behaviour. In this review some of the data will be examined with respect to pyruvate metabolism. It will be demonstrated that the metabolic transformation of pyruvate can be predicted if the growth-limiting constraints are adequately established. In general lactate remains the major product under conditions in which sugar metabolism via a homolactic fermentation can satisfy the energy requirements necessary to assimilate anabolic substrates from the medium. In contrast, alternative pathways are involved when this energy supply becomes limiting or when the normal pathways can no longer maintain balanced carbon flux. Pyruvate occupies an important position within the metabolic network of L. lactis and the control of pyruvate distribution within the various pathways is subject to co-ordinated regulation by both gene expression mechanisms and allosteric modulation of enzyme activity.

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