Journal of applied microbiology

Mutation of the oxaloacetate decarboxylase gene of Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis impairs the growth during citrate metabolism.

PMID 17927748


Citrate metabolism generates metabolic energy through the generation of a membrane potential and a pH gradient. The purpose of this work was to study the influence of oxaloacetate decarboxylase in citrate metabolism and intracellular pH maintenance in relation to acidic conditions. A Lactococcus lactis oxaloacetate decarboxylase mutant [ILCitM (pFL3)] was constructed by double homologous recombination. During culture with citrate, and whatever the initial pH, the growth rate of the mutant was lower. In addition, the production of diacetyl and acetoin was altered in the mutant strain. However, our results indicated no relationship with a change in the maintenance of intracellular pH. Experiments performed on resting cells clearly showed that oxaloacetate accumulated temporarily in the supernatant of the mutant. This accumulation could be involved in the perturbations observed during citrate metabolism, as the addition of oxaloacetate in M17 medium inhibited the growth of L. lactis. The mutation of oxaloacetate decarboxylase perturbed citrate metabolism and reduced the benefits of its utilization during growth under acidic conditions. This study allows a better understanding of citrate metabolism and the role of oxaloacetate decarboxylase in the tolerance of lactic acid bacteria to acidic conditions.

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