The Journal of biological chemistry

Metabolic flux analysis of the mixotrophic metabolisms in the green sulfur bacterium Chlorobaculum tepidum.

PMID 20937805


The photosynthetic green sulfur bacterium Chlorobaculum tepidum assimilates CO(2) and organic carbon sources (acetate or pyruvate) during mixotrophic growth conditions through a unique carbon and energy metabolism. Using a (13)C-labeling approach, this study examined biosynthetic pathways and flux distributions in the central metabolism of C. tepidum. The isotopomer patterns of proteinogenic amino acids revealed an alternate pathway for isoleucine synthesis (via citramalate synthase, CimA, CT0612). A (13)C-assisted flux analysis indicated that carbons in biomass were mostly derived from CO(2) fixation via three key routes: the reductive tricarboxylic acid (RTCA) cycle, the pyruvate synthesis pathway via pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase, and the CO(2)-anaplerotic pathway via phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase. During mixotrophic growth with acetate or pyruvate as carbon sources, acetyl-CoA was mainly produced from acetate (via acetyl-CoA synthetase) or citrate (via ATP citrate lyase). Pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase converted acetyl-CoA and CO(2) to pyruvate, and this growth-rate control reaction is driven by reduced ferredoxin generated during phototrophic growth. Most reactions in the RTCA cycle were reversible. The relative fluxes through the RTCA cycle were 80∼100 units for mixotrophic cultures grown on acetate and 200∼230 units for cultures grown on pyruvate. Under the same light conditions, the flux results suggested a trade-off between energy-demanding CO(2) fixation and biomass growth rate; C. tepidum fixed more CO(2) and had a higher biomass yield (Y(X/S), mole carbon in biomass/mole substrate) in pyruvate culture (Y(X/S) = 9.2) than in acetate culture (Y(X/S) = 6.4), but the biomass growth rate was slower in pyruvate culture than in acetate culture.